Sunday 4 October 2015


Most people have said the following from time to time: 

'Why hasn't anyone done this before? Well, I'll do it myself then.'

But not perhaps when it refers to the creation of a festival designed to celebrate modern interpretations of the best street food you can cram into the back of a five foot van. Mike Rea is the man who decided to single handedly take on such a challenge and his vision to bring a street food revolution to Milton Keynes was achieved with military speed and an astonishing amount of enthusiasm.

The event was coupled with a Battle of the Bands competition which, by all accounts, was very cool - although anyone who has seen me in any kind of compromising musical position will testify that I am the least qualified person EVER to talk about the music that people are listening to these days. For me, music died with the 80's.

So needless to say that I went for the food and boy was there a lot to choose from. For a first effort, my man Mike had managed to pull together in no particular order: Bare Bones Pizza \\ Grand Union Dining Den \\ Horsebox Coffee Co \\ Signature Curry \\ Good Times Cafe \\ Berkshire Biltong \\ Kurbside Kitchen \\ Happy Herefords \\ Concrete Cow Brewery \\ Kamikaze Kitchen \\ Gourdans \\ Yum Jungle \\ Monty Pieman \\ Adobo \\ Café Nombleh \\ BoxFood 

Which is quite frankly astounding bearing in mind that this was an event with no track record and was built entirely on Mikes ability to convince these vendors to come along on an October weekend and give us the opportunity to experience their food. As luck would have it on the day, MK played host to Japan vs Samoa in the Rugby world cup so a steady stream of punters were guided through the event to be tempted with delicious smells and treats.

So where did my money go? Let's start with Bare Bones pizza.

A proper pizza oven mounted inside a van? Yes, I think we'll have a piece of that action. The Child voted for a pepperoni and the pizza was ready in less that five minutes. A thin chewy base with a crispy rim, these guys clearly know their business. This was pretty tasty and good value too, now, if only i could combine their pizza van with Barracuda's calzone!!

Next up was Box Food's Jerk chicken.

Jerk chicken. I just need to stop for a moment and remember the smokey, tangy, fruity taste of the deliciously cooked chicken that lulled you into a false sense of security and then kicked you straight in the goolies with every bite of those chilli pickles. The power and uncompromising attitude of those peppers was fantastic when coupled with the jerk chicken and I will certainly look out for these guys in the future.

Mrs P. couldn't be restrained from ordering up Gourdans steak frites with salsa verde and after one bite (I only got the one mind you), I can see why. Beautifully seared steak with a salsa verde that couldn't be faulted. The chips were thin, crispy and seasoned nicely which overall, gave us a box filled with a serious carb/protein fix.

This was the view afforded us at the Monty Pieman stall. With various choices on offer, it was easy to start talking pie. I think the best way to describe these is to say that I ended up taking away the Padbury, Winslow and Buckingham and as I write this I am tucking into each one with such enthusiasm that has Mrs P tutting with disapproval. These are proper pies, with the Padbury in particular (having won a silver medal at the British Pie awards), giving me pleasure above and beyond the sum of it's parts.

But let's not forget drinks.

The Horsebox Coffee co provided not only some of the smoothest roasted coffee I've been served outside Italy, a square of brownie that had Mrs P weak at the knees, a cup of Hot Chocolate that satisfied The Childs every chocolate warmed marshmallow desires but to top it all off... they were lovely, lovely people. 

Last but by no means least was Mr Beer himself, Dan from the Concrete Cow Brewery was pulling pints of his IPA and I think we all know how I feel about that.

Unfortunately, even in two visits I couldn't get round all the stall holders and I can only hope that I'll stumble across them before they return next year. Curry, tacos and some amazing burgers were on show but my time, wallet and stomach capacity limited my ability to taste as many as I would have liked. If you didn't come down to The Buszy then you missed a treat, but I for one will implore Mr Rea to repeat his effort and with hopefully more support from us and you, it can be bigger, better and even more tasty that before.


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