We local foodies all got a bit excited at the prospect of a street food market opening up in Nottingham when word broke a few weeks back and much speculation was had as to where this might be. There are lots of side streets and lanes which emanate from Nottingham’s central Market Square that could host such a thing, and already there are plans to close off to traffic some of the streets in boho Hockley to encourage people to spend time there in the evenings. So, it was a bit of surprise when the location was announced as being in the food bit of the large Intu Victoria Shopping Centre, the posher of the two Centres in town. Not exactly what you’d consider to be “street” by any stretch.
Still we rocked up with our e-tickets for the opening Saturday, nonetheless. (Did anyone actually check anyone’s e-tickets or was it just a cunning wheeze to get our details..call me an old cynic). Anyway, sure enough in a back room of the foodie bit (which has seen, already in its first year, quite a few restaurants come and go) is a kind of Street Food Market. It is really more of what, in the olden days, used to be called a “food court” with options for eating around the edge and communal seating in the middle (along with, I was rather pleased to discover, a bar).
And so what if it is all a little contrived, the food we tried was absolutely superb. There are four vendors there currently, and the idea is that they will rotate and refresh. I think this is a great idea – not only for the customer experience but it gives small food start-ups a chance to get premium space with low overheads on short leases – giving themselves the chance to see if their offer works and will be profitable before they invest big money in capital. Good Stuff.
We started with Chef Jugz’s Fusion Tacos. (I worked with Chef Jugz – aka Juga-naut, in my restaurant, he makes amazing food – he’s also available to hire for your events – check him out).
We had the Gai Yang Chicken and the Jerk Veggie Tacos and I am not kidding, for small bites of food they pack a hell of a punch. Absolutely fab (even though, I am obviously biased) We wanted more Tacos but in the interests of research we also tried the pork and chicken Baos from the Home Boys (with former local Masterchef contestant Pete Hewitt). Both were great (although we did wait a bit of a while to be served as the ‘Boys were a man down on the till) – cooking, taking orders & payments and serving meant the queue was building but, hey, its early days. Can’t fault the food, really great tasty belly pork and spicy well battered Korean chicken.
Other choices included a Pizza vendor and vegan falafels from Numinums. Fair to say when we were there, both of these were having a bit of a quiet time, but maybe it was just the draw of the other two (slightly more unusual) offerings and it being daytime ( I still managed a lager though – I like that there is a bar there, did I mention that already?).
The place (the space) is…………..well, a bit odd, and I think a couple more outlets would benefit it, but I really hope it works. And those tacos were to die for. We will be back and that’s a bit rare these days.