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The Belgrave Feast - August

17 August 2015
The Belgrave Feast - August
This August the Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen was again taken over by some of the best street food talent in the North. This month’s offerings included hummus and falafel kings The Humpit, a taste of Columbia with Arepa! Arepa! Arepa!’s roof top BBQ, pierogi dumplings from Polish meat masters Smak!, sugary overloads from Glamarang, smoked meat taco world fusions from Smoqued and a whole load of dirty wings and deep fried goods from Mojo. In addition to all this culinary goodness there was also a pop-up cocktail bar serving some twisted favourites and an arts market on the first floor giving space to local talent to showcase their work. With some locally brewed beers ready and on tap, it was the perfect occasion to grab a pint and some grub and head to the roof.

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The Humpit

Having made his beginnings in the street food trade, master of hummus, Jonathan opened his permanent residence in the Corn Exchange last year. Since then he and his team have fast become champion of the chickpea in Leeds, with his falafel pittas being the staple lunch time treat for anyone in the vicinity. Not wanting to give up on his street food roots, Jonathan still enjoys bringing his dishes to the people of Leeds and was serving up some hearty pittas whose sides were literally straining with all the delicious fillings. With a choice of falafel, hummus or a combo of both, these chickpea treats are then smothered with a choice of sauces including my personal favourite of what I can only describe as a posh curry sauce. Aside from being a healthy belly filler the falafel are the perfect texture - somewhere between crumbly and doughy - with a spicy kick and crunchy bite. To keep update with all things Humpit find them @humpithummus at or visit their hummus palace in the Corn Exchange.

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Smak!

Serving Polish cuisine that has quickly gained a reputation for being as addictive as its namesake, owner Monica and her team use traditional Polish recipes to bring the best of Poland to the streets of the North: ‘We are the first in the North. We started with the BBQed Polish sausages and we have been introducing more unique dishes - like the Pierogi we are serving today. We have had such a great response to our Polish recipes using meat from our Polish butcher and with such a big Polish community I don’t know why more people aren’t doing it!’. The Pierogi, Polish dumplings, were filled with either country style curd cheese, potatoes and onions or pork and beef and then garnished with lardons, spring onions and a pot of sour cream and as you bite in to the dumpling you are treated to a hearty, morish taste typical of Polish cuisine. Leeds based Smak! Has been making an appearance at a whole host of events this Summer so watch out for their heavy duty BBQ or people flocking for their Pierogi dumplings at events in Leeds.

Arepa! Arepa! Arepa!

Changing things up this Saturday, Arepa! Arepa! Arepa! went all smoky coals with a Colombian style BBQ on the Belgrave roof top. Momentarily moving away from their classic dish of stuffed arepa (a traditional Colombian flatbread) they were serving up offerings such as steak skewers marinated in beer, onion and gravy, a hot off the smoke Colombian hot dog and a plantain sliced open and stuffed with a crumbly cheese and guava. However Arepa fans were not disappointed as in addition to being offered an authentic taste of the Columbian BBQ tradition, customers were treated to a myriad of tasty sides including a mini dough ball version of their famed arepa, ceviche de sidra (a fruity South American take on salsa) and a generous dollop of guacamole. After hearing how co-owner Jules grew up surrounded by her Colombian mother’s cooking, which inspired many of their dishes, I was intrigued and opted for the stuffed plantain, feeling adventurous and curious to try an authentic and unique dish. The plantain had been wrapped in foil and left to smoke on the BBQ which give a subtle hint smokiness to the sweet and savoury flavours. Although I wouldn’t have usually combined a sugary fruit component with a salty cheese the flavours came together to perfectly complement the melt in your mouth texture. Completely sold on by Columbian culinary experience, I’m already excited for my next run in with Jules and Bailey and their Arepa stall.

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Glamarang

With a running them of gluttony and indulgence throughout their enticing range of baked goods, Sheffield based Glamarang had some eye-catching cakes, stacked high and brimming with sugary sweet toppings. Their frosted brownies and peanut butter blondies proved particularly popular and with the cakes looking so pretty, customers seemed guilty about slicing into the baked masterpieces.

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Smoqued

After trialling the world’s BBQs while travelling, Tom and James launched Smoqued with the aim of showcasing a fusion of the world’s cuisines through the vehicle of the taco. Although the BBQ is traditionally associated with America, these guys insist some of the best BBQed food is found elsewhere with Vietnamese and Korean influences within their dishes: ‘Everyone thinks of BBQ as a Western tradition but some of the best I’ve had has come off an Asian BBQ during my time travelling.’ The duo believes that the taco is the best medium for carrying their smoked meat with options like oak smoked pork belly and smoked Korean beef rib encased in the corn based shells. One particularly well thought out combo is their Smoqued salad which combines pork belly, beef rib, bean and corn salad kimchi, yuzu mayo, hasawero ketchup and spicy panko all snuggled into a crispy taco.

Mojo

Known in Leeds for their wild parties and bar scene, I was surprised to see Mojo’s stall at Belgrave although I had heard rumours about their dirty wings being some of the best around. Focusing on serving up just that, the stall was busy with orders for their signature ‘seasoned, smoked and fried’ wings, meaning that they quickly sold out and sent for more supplies from the restaurant which is handily located just across the road from Belgrave. Some of the most popular chicken choices included the Louisiana range which sees their secret hot sauce glazed on or served on the side of their juicy wings. An arguably more experimental choice was the peanut butter jelly wings taking an All-American approach to a classic dish. If you were still feeling a bit peckish afterwards, onion rings and mac ’n’ cheese balls were some tempting deep fried sides which I spotted on numerous plates over the day. More of the same can be found at their bar and restaurant on Merrion Street or at their pop ups around Leeds.

With the roof terrace fit to burst with chomping customers hoping to catch some rays as they tucked into their handfuls of culinary treats, there was a definite festival vibe at the Belgrave Feast this August. With the Feast being held every second Saturday of the month, be sure not to miss this unique street food offering with new street food vendors appearing each month.

P.s Just before I headed home I proved my foodie worth and picked up a Dough Boy’s Belgrave Feast special 16” Za’ atar flat bread which was topped with olive tapenade, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, garlic yoghurt and smoked sea salt. As a self-confessed Dough Boys addict, my expectations were high but at the risk of sounding gushy this really did take it up a level. Basically if you spot it on the specials board, act quickly.

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By
Becky Peartree is our resident food writer and is in her final year at Leeds University where she studies English Literature.