The Ribman cometh

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I went to meet Mark Gevaux AKA The Ribman to write a post for The Culture Vulture, leading up to street food, art and music festival Amazing Graze on the 5/6th April at Left Bank in Leeds.

I like ribs. Which meat eater doesn’t? There isn’t a better meaty pleasure than tender meat, falling of the bone and for the more resistant morsels, gnawed off the bone. Leeds has kind of fallen in love with ribs all over again.

In the eighties and nineties, there were more tex-mex Americana joints in Leeds flogging poor quality ribs than you could shake a saucy stick at. And then they all vanished as we kind of fell out of love with them. Some of us rib fans waited patiently for the tide to turn, and guess what? It has.

Recently we’ve seen a resurgence in ribby pleasure in the city of Loiners. Rib Shakk, Cattle Grid and the newcomer Red’s are all delivering great quality rib action and that’s just to name a few. We might have a surfeit of rib activity, but the good will out and I’m all for a bit of competition.

But can ribs work as street food? And why would you even bother?

London based Mark Gevaux AKA The Ribman (‘Best Ribs in London’ is his gauntlet throwing strapline) has been causing a street food sensation with his off the bone pork baby back ribs at London street food festivals across the capital. His USP is that he lovingly takes the deliciously tenderised, smokey meat off the bone and serves the meat – after cooking it *overnight* by the way – in an enormous bun with his trademark ‘Holy Fuck’ sauce. Oh yes!!

Of course this kind of dirty deliciousness is all the rage in London right now and who are we to complain? I caught up with Mark at street food market Kerb at Kings Cross last week – I was of course taking my journalistic assignment very seriously…only to discover that Mark takes ribs very seriously indeed. In between being interviewed by a Danish TV film crew, he told me his pork is from free range animals, he makes all his own sauces and he even personally picks up his bespoke bread buns from a baker in South London every morning.

Mark is an interesting character: a trained butcher who has come to street food by a circuitous route via Spain and London. He has a loyal customer base and usually sells out by 2pm every day, so his advice to me was get there early. Of course I did and before I chatted to Mark I had to try the merchandise. I can vouch for the Holy Fuck sauce and he’s not kidding about tender, juicy rib meat that is the very essence of the pig. All served in a fresh, chewy bun on a freezing cold afternoon in Kings Cross. Perfect.

Mark is really looking forward to seeing what the good people of Leeds will make of his ribs and so am I. If you are partial to moist rib loveliness combined with kick ass sauces, then to be quite frank you need to be first in the queue when he rocks up in April.

Curry festival and a visit to Zouk

Twitter inspired us to visit the Bradford curry festival held in City Park central Bradford. The area is a great space for such events and we were anticipating a full afternoon, sadly the event was not as well supported as we had expected with probably about 12 stalls which included Zouk, Manjit’s kitchen, Hasans and Kings of Chaat, the Prashad. We were surprised not to see Akbars, Aagrah, Nawaab or Mumtaz represented. Zouk’s chicken tikka wrap £4 was delicious with plenty of filling and G’s Chaat from Prashad £2.50 was fresh and tasty.

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Still hungry we decided to stop at Zouk cafe and restaurant, we ordered masala chai, a tea spiced with cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and ginger, simply delicious… To eat, I had lamb chops and a keema paratha, G had a mixed tandoori starter and mushroom bhaji, the food was cooked to perfection and the bill was £21…great..

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Note … Prashad are opening 1st week in December in Drighligton…
D&G

Leeds Loves Food

 

Bit of a late post due to last week being somewhat mental. Anyhow, better late than never. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon wandering around the Leeds Food Festival last weekend. Of course the magnificent weather really helped proceedings but so did the event itself – it was excellent.

In previous years this event has struggled to get momentum but this year I felt it really hit its stride with excellent representation from a good selection of restaurants around the city and plenty of small food producers selling their wares. I would say that if they continue in this vein, next year’s festival will require a lot more space than Millennium Square.

Leeds deserves more events like this and the city has shown itself to be very diverse and sophisticated in its approach to food and the enjoyment of food. I’d like to see it push on next year and really up the ante with not only local chefs but internationally renowned chefs and produce.

And of course, we finished off the day sat out in the back garden in the sunshine eating all the delicious produce we’d found. Perfect.

Malton Food Festival

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We spent a very enjoyable day at The Malton Food and Drink Festival last weekend. Opting to start the day in style, we had breakfast at Leeds Bar and Grill (superb, by the way) and then hopped on the train to Malton. Rather than drive we fancied letting the train take the strain. In the end we had to stand all the way to York due to a short train and racegoers. This did not dampen our spirits in any way and we hopped off the train in Malton on a bright and breezy day.

The Festival itself was very well put together with plenty of local producer stalls all set in the picturesque town centre. There were a couple of large demo tents and an excellent beer festival in the local concert hall. Sensibly, near the beer was the hog roast and artisan sausage butty stands to soak up the local ale so we were set for a great afternoon.

One of our favourite producers were there – Sand Hutton Asparagus – and there were a couple of tempting Pimms and Pie stalls that caught my eye and wallet. all in all we felt it was a great event, basking in good weather and very well attended.

Oh, and there was a tank. Well not quite a tank but a reconnaissance vehicle. Still it looked cool and trundled noisily back to base at the end of the day.

Norfolk Food Festival

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This is the last post of our weekend in Norwich and by pure coincidence on our recent visit it was the last days of the Norfolk Food Festival. Foodie events had been organised over the county starting from the 19th of September and culminated in Norwich with the mighty ‘Battle of the Bangers’ and a food theatre in the central Forum building. The public were asked to sample and vote for their favourite sausage from a range of local butchers cooked from a series of stalls outside the Forum. The variety and quality of the bangers was fantastic and although we did not get to know the eventual vote winner, we loved the bangers from the Walsingham Farms Shop Partnership, hope they did take the honours.

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The highlight of the event for me was the John Lewis sponsored cookery theatre inside the Forum with an impressive stage, cameras, large monitors for the close-ups and a line up of top local chefs. The main presentation we managed to see was by Roger Hickman from The Victoria at Holkham. Roger’s presentation was the preparation of three game dishes consisting of duck, pigeon and venison supplied from the Holkham estate. Each dish used seasonal and locally sourced produce and Roger’s presentation was both interesting and inspiring and his passion and talent for his cooking shone through. During the event several chefs had contributed to and were promoting the ‘Mealmakers’ recipe book in aid of the Princes Trust in Norfolk and for a humble five pounds was a deserving cause worth supporting and I look forward to trying some of the recipes from my copy. How easy the professionals make it look and three stunning dishes were prepared and demonstrated in approximately 40 minutes. Talking to Roger at the end of the presentation it was a pleasant surprise to find that he was involved with the original ‘Adlards’ restaurant another local favourite sadly now closed and missed. Roger originates from Garforth near Leeds ….. Well not much of a surprise there !!

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River Cottage Annual Members Party 2008

The whole point of the weekend was to attend the RC annual party for members, as you probably know. However, in true Globe Troffers style, we managed to cram into the weekend all manner of food and dring excitement.

The Saturday began with a quite acceptable breakfast at Fernhill Hotel (very good place to stay if you plan a visit to Park Farm) and then a nice 2 mile stroll to Lyme Regis, which looked resplendant in the early autumn sunshine. A fine wander along the front and on to the cob was made perfect by an OK crab sandwich lunch in restaurant overlooking the bay (the view was better than the food I have to say) but Chablis went down well and we all commented on how life can be hard.

We squeezed a quick game of crazy golf (really) before a quick scrub up and taxi to RC. Drinks and canapes in the garden was just perfect as the sun slipped behind the picturesque Devon/Dorset hills. The rest of the evening was equally outstanding – although the marquee got very cold due to problems with the heating a splendid evening ensued with the food and drink excellent considering how difficult it is to cater for 250 people in a marquee in the middle of nowhere. Special mention has to go to the Sea Bass Ceviche, grilled sprats, super tender lamb shoulder and the carrots, which were excellent. The local somerset brandy took the lining off my throat though and Stinger (Hugh’s beer) came to the rescue.

Julie gave Hugh a kiss and cuddle (as did Dawn I think!) and the evening rolled on with much discussion on wild mushrooms with John. Standing around the bonfire capped it all and we jumped on the trailer to get the taxi back to the hotel. What an absolute cracker of a night!!

Belper Festival of Food and Drink

Sunday saw a trip down to Derbyshire with Paul and Carol to the Belper Food and Drink Fest. Belper is a small market town on the edge of the Peak District and famed for the ‘Fresh Basil’ delicatessen which really is an aladdin’s cave of lovely foodie things.

The festival was quite small and there were some interesting local food suppliers there – I bought some Chilli infused Pale Ale (which is very good) some fabulous chocolates and some thyme and lemon olives. But the damp conditions – for that read tipping it down – meant we went off seeking lunch in a nearby hostelry in the dry.

Paul had seen a likely looking candidate about 10 minutes away, The Hanging Gate. Early signs were good: a packed car park and a healthy 30 min wait for a table. In the end we only waited 10 mins to be seated, although the food was quite slow but there were a lot of covers and the quality was good.

I shared a starter of baked baby camembert with Julie and had the calves liver whilst Julie had the moroccan lamb shank. All excellent I have to say in a large pub that I think is part of chain and none the worse for it.

Wine was very reasonable with a bottle of house Shiraz at £9.50 ( we had two, because I wasn’t driving and nor was Carol!). 

Capped the day off with coffee and cake in a victoriana themed cafe in Matlock which was just like stepping back in time. Rubbish, thin coffee and chocolate cake that beggared belief.