Last Saturday saw the return of the fiendishly popular Highbridge Quarter Festival, down on the little winding, cobbled street between Grey Street and the Bigg Market.
Each year this tiny street party seems to grow and grow, with festival goers travelling from near and far to grab a fistful of world food and culture.
This year’s celebration of the businesses on or near Highbridge Street also coincided nicely with Record Store Day, as half of the shops on the ally are indeed independent record shops.
So music and food quite literally came together last weekend and had a party that was bursting at the seams.
There were pop ups from all the usual suspects; Electric East, The Salsa Cafe, The French Oven, Dabbawal, Papa Ganoush, Riley’s Fish Shack, Marco Polo, the Tasty Thai Deli, The Ouseburn Coffee Co and, a new one for me, Lulu’s Authentic Chinese Streetfood stall. Please give me a shout if I’ve left anyone out, I’m afraid was far too busy eating everything in sight to pay proper attention.
This year we opted to supp The French Oven’s fresh orange juice rather than a tasty cup of OCO coffee so I can’t vouch for that, but the rest of the companies should be giving themselves a rather large pat on the back. Both for keeping up with the throngs to people and the crazy demand for food (particularly chicken tikka wraps – I’m looking at you Dabbawal!) and also for the excellent quality of the food they were selling for very reasonable prices.
Some of the highlights for me personally were the shredded pork from Lulu’s Chinese Streetfood, the Indonesian Beef Rendang courtesy of Electric East (So tasty. Can your chefs do no wrong??), the tapas on offer from The Salsa Cafe and the chicken tikka wrap that was totally worth the wait, thanks again Dabbawal.
There was not a great deal of food left at Riley’s Fish Shack by the time we got there but I will say I scoffed a mackerel wrap from their cart last year at the Night Food Festival and it was good.
Also, special extra mentions go to Jeff Dingle who was performing on the stage while we munched and had people quite literally dancing in the street. No mean feat for a busy Saturday in Newcastle. Also to The French Oven for providing the perfect continental baked deserts, as always. It comes as no great surprise that children who like macarons will love cola flavoured macarons. They certainly kept my other half’s young son quiet for a while.
We’re so far behind other countries and indeed the rest of the world sometimes when it comes to celebrating food and the joy of eating, so I can only hope that the success of events like this slowly becoming more popular over the years (see last year’s here) will show Newcastle, and the rest of the country, that we are definitely ready for more of these kinds of so-called ‘foodie’ celebrations. If only so that I’ve got more lovely excuses to sit around in the sun, stuffing my face.
Incidentally I also had a bit of a wander up and away from the bustle of Highbridge St to check out a new vintage boutique that opened Saturday on Pudding Chare. Lola Rose were having a little party of their own, which was in full swing by the time I arrived in the late afternoon. I’ll certainly be popping back there to have a bit of a peruse of the rails without the live band crammed in and all the crowds of hipster kids. One to watch fashion fans.