Cardiff has seen a huge boom in its foodie pop-up scene over the last 18 months, with traders covering everything from crème brûlées to coffees, from the simple pleasures of crispy fried chicken to gastronomic heights of a langoustine risotto.
With SFC about to launch their new project ‘The Depot’ on Friday (31 Oct), and Cardiff Street Food planning a Christmas festival of food on December 13, we asked local blogger Jane Cook to pick out 10 of the best food and drink pop-ups in Cardiff worth keeping an eye out for.
Hangfire Smokehouse (BBQ)
The undisputed queens of Cardiff’s pop-up scene, the two ladies behind Hangfire Smokehouse are the stuff of BBQ legend. An extended trip around America gave them the perfect opportunity to learn how to cook authentic, southern food ‘slow and low’. Thank goodness they brought that knowledge back to the Welsh capital and have been wowing its residents with their locally sourced, high welfare meat, which has been rubbed, smoked, and pulled to perfection ever since.
Find out where they’ll pop up next by following them on Twitter: @hangfirebbq
Jol’s Food Co (Fancy British)
After spending six years as a chef at the award-winning Hardwicke in Abergavenny, Jol himself has recently decided to go it alone, with a chic, shiny food truck and an impressive menu to boot. His aim was to create ‘local artisan food to tickle your taste buds’ – and he certainly does. With dishes like confit duck leg with celeriac fondant and scallops with langoustine risotto and crab vinaigrette, it’s all too easy to forget that you’re eating out of a take-away box and not in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
Keep an eye on Jol’s chic, shiny food truck by following him on Twitter: @JolsFoodCo
Dirty Bird (Fried Chicken)
Dirty Bird Buttermilk Chicken with a Mexican nacho crust, pickled cucumber, Ancho Chilli Jam and avocado wedge. pic.twitter.com/4q2nZ3TUj5
— Dirty Fried Chicken (@eatdirtybird) August 25, 2014
These guys left us all in a flap when they launched their somewhat controversial branding (apparently it’s a lower case ‘d’ and a ‘b’, you filthy people). Phallic imagery aside, what these guys actually do best is free range, finger-lickin’ fried chicken. Other items on the menu include spicy, sticky Korean wings with spring onions, and buttermilk fried chicken with a spicy nacho crust. What’s not to love?
Follow the Dirty Bird crew on Twitter: @eatdirtybird
Haute Dogs (Hot Dogs)
These tasty hot-dogs are not your run-of-the-mill bangers in a bun. Sausages sourced from the award-winning, high welfare Trealy Farm in Monmouth are served inside a sliced, steamed brioche bun, and topped with an inspired mix of flavour combinations. The ‘Portland Dog’ comes covered in coca-cola fried onions, French mustard, and a sprinkling of crunchy dried onions mixed with popping candy. Sounds wrong, tastes incredibly right.
You can’t find Haute Dogs on Twitter, but you can find them at The Depot, a foodie pop-up event running every weekend, Nov – Dec 2014: www.streetfoodcardiff.com/depot-launch
Wild Fig (Ice Cream)
The team at Wild Fig Farm make the most wonderful organic ice-cream, using fresh ingredients sourced from the local area. There is always a variety of fun seasonal flavours on offer, like Cherry Tequila, Strawberry Cheesecake and the Classic Mojito. The onset of winter has also seen them branch out into Crème Brûlées, which they serve from their pop-up ‘Brûlée Bar’ at events and festivals across the city.
Meat & Greek (Greek)
Set up in haste on a whim, by a Greek Cypriot family who had been bashing out delicious souvlaki to feed their own brood for many years, Meat & Greek may be small – but their food is mighty. After a successful debut at Pop Up Cardiff (a bi-monthly street food festival over the summer), it looks like these guys are set to become a regular fixture on the Cardiff street food scene; the homely comfort of warm pitta-bread full of hummus, salad and char-grilled chicken just too good to resist.
Follow the family behind Meat & Greek and find out what’s next for them: @meatandgreek
Taste of Persia (Persian)
A firm favourite at Riverside’s weekly farmers market, Taste of Persia serve up traditional Persian favourites like sweet, sticky baklava cake made with honey and nuts, and a fresh and tasty chicken speciality served with pomegranate, walnut and saffron rice. Their unusual falafels are pretty special too – be sure to check out the apple, olive and sun-dried tomato creation, it’s delicious.
Taste of Persia are at Riverside Market most weekends, and on Twitter at: @TasteofPersia
— PIPES™ (@pipesbeer) September 6, 2014
Perhaps not technically a pop-up, but found at pop-up events (and in bars) across Cardiff, Pipes beer is brewed at a tiny premises just outside the city centre. Their unadulterated ‘pure’ craft beers use absolutely no preservatives or additives, are suitable for vegans, and taste bloomin’ lovely. Once a month they hold their own mini events at their ‘Bar Open’ days outside their brewery HQ, and this month, they even launched a limited edition Taff Temptress beer (named after the river that runs through Cardiff) – made entirely from hops collected from within the city.
Get the latest from Pipes Beers by following them here: @Pipesbeer
The Caffeine Kid (Coffee)
— Will Corby (@TheCaffeineKid) October 12, 2014
The Caffeine Kid was set up by Will Corby, owner of many coffee-related accolades including Barista champion of the Midlands in 2010, and Barista champion of London 2011. Now he is another regular at Cardiff’s Riverside Market every weekend, serving up hot, velevety cups of proper, strong coffee to chase away even the most deadly of hangovers.
The Caffeine Kid is at the Riverside market every weekend, and on Twitter: @TheCaffeineKid
Two Fingers Drinks (Cocktails)
— Two Fingers Drinks ✌ (@TwoFingersUK) September 12, 2014
These guys have been turning up at events all over the city, serving up classic cocktails with a contemporary twist – like their Gooseberry Martini made with Absolut Vodka, Malibu, Sauvignon Blanc and lime. Their debut at the Motley Movies rooftop cinema which took place over the summer saw them create yummy flavour combinations that were all named to link with the film on show. I treated myself to a Sex Panther at their screening of Anchorman – yum!
Keep up with Two Fingers Drinks on Twitter at: @TwoFingersUK
• Jane Cook runs HungryCityHippy, an award-winning Cardiff and London-based food, travel and lifestyle blog with an ethical / eco-friendly focus. You can follow her on Twitter @HungryCityHippy and @janechicomendes
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