Our bold mission to chart the Isle of Wight’s eating out offerings had something of a setback when eating out became illegal. Undeterred, we have returned to working our way through the Island’s takeaway and delivery options. This week we found an offbeat variation on the theme that we think you’ll like.
Eat Street is the brainchild of Island chef Alex Wibberley, former head pastry chef at The Hambrough. The project launched last summer, and seems to be a unique combination of contemporary Isle of Wight themes: great street food, the Internet of Things, the circular economy, countryside exploration, a rustic vehicle and extreme COVID security.
We placed our Eat Street takeaway order on the very well-organised website, receiving instructions by return. On our chosen night the Eat Street wagon – a horsebox converted by the chef himself – was set up on a country lane in Shorwell. We arrived at our allotted time, prepared for the next stage in the game. A digital code was emailed to us which, when entered into the Eat Street website, had the eerie effect of causing one of the two hatches on the food wagon to slowly open, revealing a tempting parcel of dinner. For although chef Alex was within, making the freshly-prepared hot food, this is a zero-contact experience which must be the most COVID-secure way to procure a takeaway in the country. You see nobody, you touch nobody, and even the locker opens by remote control. Our door was called ‘MacArthur’ after our very own Dame Ellen, and adorned with an inspirational quote from the great lady underlining the Eat Street commitment to the circular economy and in particular, a near-zero-waste experience.
Once it was safely on our dining table, the 100% home-compostable packaging opened to reveal a splendid feast. We shared Veganuary‘s weekly special: a satisfying trio of bourbon and lime-roasted cauliflower tacos with lime ‘slaw and guacamole. The chunks of roasted cauliflower and sparky pomegranate seeds were barely contained by the tacos, which were also stuffed with delicious finely-chopped salsa, all super-fresh and lime-tangy.
Chicken katsu was a simple and tasty interpretation of the classic dish. A thick and aromatic curry sauce gave flavour to the generous hunks of breaded chicken on a bed of fresh rice, adorned with lightly-pickled veg. The crispy ‘slaw side had similarly Asian flavours.
Roasted cauliflower tacos £10
Asian ‘slaw £3
Katsu chicken curry £8.50
Loaded nachos £6.50
The star of the show was definitely the nachos. Fully-loaded nachos is fast becoming Matt’s touchstone dish. Offer up your nachos, people, and prepare to be judged. Easy to produce (even the late Cineworld would peddle this) but hard to do really well. The Eat Street version hits the spot. The tortilla chips themselves were generic, but the copious toppings of queso, guacamole and soured cream complemented a bedrock of good, strong beef chilli. Plentiful jalapeño chunks on top had a kick, without bringing tears to the eyes. We scratched eagerly for the last morsels, licking the salty crumbs from our fingertips – no Eat Street order would be complete without the nachos.
Our Eat Street adventure was a satisfying one. It’s a unique process for getting food, and any remaining laggards who shy away from using a smartphone, or new experiences in general, might find it a bit much. Everyone else will enjoy the easy and remarkably safe process.
Of course the real test is the food itself. That, we can confidently say, is well worth the trouble. It’s interesting, exciting street food, delivered in a novel way by a chef who knows how to make great food as well as convert a horsebox.
This is the full-length version of the review first published in the Isle of Wight County Press.
- Diverse and exciting menu
- Strong sustainability ethos
- Remarkably COVID-safe process
- Not open every day