Let me paint a picture of Maidenhead at lunch time for you. Loping office workers wander the High street with their M&S sandwich and bag of crisps in hand, slinking back to work past a strip of pound stores, charity shops and a glut of 3 or 4 coffee-house franchises. When the best place in town to go is Costa coffee, that’s when you know your town has hit bottom.
Back when I was writing for The Maidenhead Advertiser, I came across a plucky lass called Esther, who ran the only supper club in Berkshire. Like me, she looks over the fence at what the foodies are doing in London and wonders why we can’t do the same here in the Royal Borough. Unlike me, she is doing something about it.
On the weekend I popped in to visit the Maidenhead Street food festival that Esther has been busy coordinating, since way back when I interviewed her for the supper club article for the paper. At first I couldn’t find it (more signs Esther!) but AT who met me in town, told me where to look. I was stopped by the first van I saw – Pigs and Dogs. Run by TV star Angela Griffin and her hunky hubby Jason, we were amongst the first to line up for their pork-based fare. I chose the Puppy dog, an organic frankfurt on a brioche bun, with onion and sauce. Diminutive in size, I considered mine an appetizer, as I planned on trying some other delights. AT got the pulled pork bun with coleslaw which was excellent. Tasty and very moist, I highly recommend one if you happen to pass by Pigs and Dogs at your local festival.
There was Indian cuisine, Market Grill buffalo burgers serving from a vintage airstream caravan, Lalita’s Gujarati vegetarian, The Spanish Kitchen serving enormous vats of paella, French crepes and a vintage cake caravan serving up lovely cakes, cream teas and that quintessential snack, fish-finger sandwiches. A humble gathering, but the start of something big; the Maidenhead street food festival lifted the spirits of the desk-bound and hungry. Instead of eating pre-packaged portions at their desks, the people were lining up for freshly made food, real food and they were talking and mingling and their was life. Esther achieved what she set out to do and that was to create a buzz, ‘a town-square type bustle’ to the sleepy suburb.
If you’re interested in seeing more pics and footage from the event, visit Esther’s SL6 Supperclub Facebook page. Well done Esther – look forward to the next one!