We couldn’t have chosen a finer day to attend the first day of Cardiff’s Street Food Circus on Thursday 18th August 2016.
The sun was brimming and although a little hazy out there, we were looking at a piping hot 24 degrees.
By chance I had booked time off with work which meant that I could really let my hair down and see what the Circus had to offer.
We arrived shortly before 6pm and already people were coming from far and wide to join the queue, ready to enjoy the festivities.
Within moments, the gates were open and after a little pat down by the security staff, we were free to wander around and take a look.
Our first port of call was the bar to grab a fresh beer priced at £4.50 a pint and £2.50 a half respectively.
A range of pipes craft beers were on offer including a lager, pilsner and a saison. There were also more traditional ales in the form of Wychwood’s Hobgoblin and a lager called King Star. Alongside beers, there were plenty of soft drink options, cocktails and spirits for those looking for something different.
We hit an initial snag when it turned out the pumps for almost all of the craft beers were playing up resulting in me swapping my order a couple of times and finally settling on a Dirty Bird Pale Ale.
I offered a crisp £20 note and after a little fumbling of the till, I was given my change and off we went. It was at this point that I’d realised I had been short changed and the Pale Ale really didn’t taste right.
With all the initial issues, I didn’t blame the bar staff at all. They were very quick offering the correct change and a replacement beer right away.
I opted instead for a King Star lager which was refreshing enough and enabled us to pop off and check the stands out.
My wife and I would be taking part in the three course Feast Clwb preview, so all we could do was take in the sights and amazing aromas from afar.
The site is split into a number of zones which cater for different styles and appetites.
From the entrance along the right is ‘The Block’ which caters for the big eats and includes stands like Lola’s Wings, Got Beef, Meat & Greek and more. They also have the Science Cream popup which specialises in creating awesome ice cream with liquid nitrogen which is a site to behold.
As you come back around, you hit ‘Singha Street’, named after the Singha Bottle Bus which was more yurt on our visit. This zone catered for those looking for something warm, spice and fragrant. It included stands such as The Purple Popadom Tukka-Tuk, Little Bao Peep, Bearded Taco and El Salsa.
Almost back to the beginning and you reach ‘The Farmyard’ zone which contains a number of award winning stands with a focus on ethical produce. Here you have the ever popular Hang Fire Smokehouse, Slow Pig, Dusty Knuckle pizza, Mr Croquewich and much more.
These zones all surrounded the circus big top which sat in the middle of the venue offering plenty of seating, a small stage which become additional seating on our visit and of course, the sparkly disco ball which had price of place aloft all of the diners.
Music on the day was an unusual mix of 80’s hits and modern yet repetitive music mixes.
A strange line-up but easily drowned out by all the amazing sights, smells general celebration of food.
The headliner for us was the Feast Clwb event which is held from 18th August to 25th September.
Every Thursday, A different pop up sets up shop offering a unique selection of culinary delights in a really pleasant and intimate setting.
The cost is £25 per person and booking is essential as the space limited is limited.
We would be enjoying a three course meal from Cardiff based restaurant Milgi.
Milgi Specialize in natural, plant based foods but have a focus on making it accessible, satisfying and flavour rich. The menu alone shows the expertise and range of elements which go into each course.
Raw sunflower & sundried tomato galette with chickpea & basil houmous, micro basil, toasted pumpkin seed, heirloom tomato, radish sprouted aduki beans.
Za’tar Tempeh with lemon & saffron brown rice, garden peas, gem lettuce, mint, and harissa cashew sauce.
Raw blackcurrant cheesecake with almond & date crust and summer fruit salad.
The starter really packed a punch and for me was the best course of the meal.
Packed with flavour and texture from the softness of the feta cheese to the crunch of the salad and the pumpkin seeds.
The sunflower seed and sundried tomato galette offered a crunchy base for the smooth basil hummus and it was great to try an alternative form of tomato as well as the sprouted adzuki beans. Starters don’t get much better than this, it looked stunning too.
I’ve never tried tempeh so it was interesting to see how carefully fermented soy beans can come together to form an almost cake form in the main course – Really versatile.
Fried with the za’tar spices, it was really wholesome and tasted great when combined with all of the individual components on the plate from the crisp & crunchy lettuce to the freshness of the minted peas and the gently spiced fragrant rice, topped with rose petals.
It’s a fair point to say that this course has opened my eyes to other vegan options which I would otherwise have strayed away from.
Finally onto the cheesecake which was was vibrant and fresh. Plenty of sharp flavours from the raspberry and fruits which were balanced out by the soft date base.
Although not crunchy, the chewy base really made the cheesecake by giving elements of date and an almost toffee flavour.
The refreshments came in the form of kambucha which Is a fermented, lightly effervescent tea drink which is essentially a probiotic drink and apparently offers plenty of health benefits.
It was a fruity and citrus drink (Non Alcoholic) and although had a really sharp aroma, was actually really pleasant.
As a result of my background in home brewing, I was offered a sample of their homemade Kambucha.
You could also get a glass or a bottle of vegan wine. We felt the bottle offered the best value. It worked out as £5 for a glass of wine or kambucha and £17.50 for a bottle of wine.
With the Milgi Three Course Feast Clwb behind us, I thought it was only fair to try at least one stand before we departed.
At around 10pm, a fair number of the stands had closed and being pretty comfortable with the quantity of food from Milgi, I only wanted a quick snack.
I opted for a set of chicken wings from Lolas Wings, who also offer pulled chicken sandwiches and more – All free range!
For £6.50 I received five really tasty wings smothered with a rich and powerful Honey Mustard sauce, a blue cheese dip and two cheeky carrot stick batons.
Although on the expensive side, the coating on the chicken wings crunchy and salty which mixed so well with the sweet and spicy honey mustard sauce. The sauce edged into wasabi level at some points but was absolutely delicious.
The carrot sticks and blue cheese dip added a clean freshness at the end. This also helped to cool the spicy kick too.
The pulled chicken sandwich came in at a price of £7 and the wing sauces came in buffalo, hot, honey mustard, bbq and sriracha & ginger.
We both had a great time and although there were a few minor hiccups, it was not enough to dampen our enjoyment of the Street Food Circus.
We had some amazing weather, Great food, refreshing drinks where possible and met some great people through the intimate setting of the Milgi Feast Clwb event.
I know we will be back real soon!