Strawberries and Creem: The Banquet Reviewed
The banquet to end all banquets
In its early days, Strawberries and Creem would not have been lauded for its food.
However, my dear readers, the festival has undergone a culinary revolution of magnificent proportions. The third edition of the festival was an absolute taste extravaganza with the best of Cambridge’s street food traders delivering a mouth watering feast. It was not just of the highest quality but also offering a truly diverse array to suit any taste or persuasion.
Given the range of food on offer it was hard choosing what to eat first. I made a beeline for Duck Rotisserie, new to the scene, and was not disappointed. This was no ordinary duck: roasted for no less than six hours before being pulled apart and served with crisp cucumber, spring onions and house hoisin. It was the best duck I have ever eaten: the meat was moist and juicy and the portion generous. Seriously impressive stuff. Greed and laziness meant my next choice fell to the trader next door. I was equally wowed by The Sausage Company’s offerings of traditional English sausages or pork and jalapeno served with caramelised onions (so joyfully sweet), cheddar and red cabbage coleslaw in a wholegrain roll. They certainly lived up to their award winning reputation. An excellent start to the Festival.
After dancing off my indulgences, the next treat was Guerilla Kitchen’s steamed bao – soft, fluffy buns filled with such flavoursome combinations I could eat them for days on end. Their ‘Fat Hen’ Bao (chicken, peanut butter, coriander, mint and jalapeno) was out of this world good though the real gem, however, was its Mac’n’Cheese with pork crumb. The cheesy, creamy and indulgent pot of joy was oh-my-goodness levels of amazing, and so perfectly offset by the crisp saltiness of the pork. An utter delight, I’ve been dreaming of it since and scheming ways to get more.
Another star of the foodie party was Provenance Kitchen. Their wood-fired asparagus, radish, harissa chickpeas, summer herb sauce and burnt lime yoghurt atop a hot, crispy flatbread was pure, summery joy. The Lick Cambridge were also on hand bring real Caribbean home cooking to the mix with organic roti, curries and mixed vegan boxes. Their mutton curry was melt-in-the-mouth tender, the minted yoghurt complementing perfectly the rich curry, all served with their crisp roti bread – it was nothing short of a taste sensation, as the queues attested.
Popular Nanna Mexico did what they do best and satisfied the crowds with their big-ass burritos, quaesadillas, and enchilladas. As is expected from the our favourite Mexican joint, it was oh-so fresh and delicious. No festival is complete without burgers and Steak and Honour were on hand to offer their gourmet burgers. These deserve serious praise: succulent and moist Riverside beef with crispy lettuce, onion, gherkin, french mustard and Heinz tomato ketchup inside a brioche bun, I don’t think they can be rivalled. So much adoration for these (and cravings that will last weeks).
Amongst the abundance of savoury food there were also sugary treats to appease sweet cravings. Churros Bar was second to none – its doughy churros with their sugary, crisp exterior were genuinely stunning. The Event special dip – strawberry, white chocolate and rum – was utterly glorious it its sweet, chocolatey splendour. And finally, in honour of the Festival, it was fitting that strawberries and cream also featured on the menu, allowing festival-goers to regain some health points.
All in all, I was seriously impressed. An incredible level of thought had gone into every aspect of the foodie line up – from the range of traders, to the menus they each offered, to the Cambridge-themed seating completed with “Granchester” and punts. For a festival that features food in its title it really delivered over and above expectations.