Sunday 17th April was the day I got to head down to the highly anticipated Comida Fest at Southbank and it was certainly worth the wait!!
Not only was it a dry day with beautiful sunshine (this is an achievement considering the rainy and dare I say it SNOWY British weather we’ve been having, believe me) BUT! it was matched with great vibes, great music but MOST importantly- GREAT FOOD.
Packed with stalls showcasing various foodelights, from Venezuela, Peru and Colombia, it’s no wonder folks came out in their droves for a taste.
Having browsed the stalls, I decided I wasn’t going to go crazy and eat everything in sight, so I settled on sampling a couple of intriguing foods I had never tried before.
One which immediately caught my eye, were the Picarones; a light Peruvian doughnut made with Squash, Sweet Potato and drenched in dark cane sugar syrup.
Super crunchy on the outside, yet light and fluffy on the inside- it’s easy to see why Picarones are such a popular treat. Plus with the addition of Squash and Sweet Potato, I didn’t feel too guilty about dipping my deep fried dough in the sticky syrup. My ONLY critique was that I found the outside a little greasy but hey- it is deep fried dough after all.
The sweet treat opened my appetite, so after much deliberating, I decided on my “main” street food course.
Initially, it was the beautifully orchestrated multigrain arepa which caught my eye over at Columbia Street Kitchen. Not only was it vegetarian and loaded with beans, guacamole, salsa, quinoa and cheese but after being offered a free sample, the flavours had me sold- (well almost).
After a recommendation from the stall holders; I was encouraged to go for the most interesting looking dish on the stall- The Chicken Tamale.
Esteban (who runs Columbia St. Kitchen) assured me I would not be disappointed, describing it as “one of the most detailed, elaborate dishes. It takes a lot of time and care as everything is wrapped and steamed in the banana leaf, sealing in all the moisture and flavour”.
And my dears…he was not wrong.
Upon unwrapping the steaming leaf parcel, I was faced with succulent chicken thigh, maize, chick peas and green peas all married in flavours. Salty, slightly smoky, savoury goodness. And served with a little side pot of Aji- a green spicy salsa filled with coriander, onions and chilli.
To wash it all down, I had a delightful Cocalero Smash cocktail- A botanical super sweet liqueur blitzed with ice and passionfruit juice.
Comida Fest…you made me a very happy bunny.
Don’t miss out on the next one folks, check out when the next Comida Fest is here for your chance to try out some Latin flavours.
Side Note: Columbia Street Kitchen will be residents of a pop up restaurant in May at Green Rooms Hotel in Wood Green. Check them out, you will NOT be disappointed.
See here for more details!