Sunday, 18 August 2013

Taste Street night market

Wellington on a Plate doesn't let a few shakes spoil the show. We have just got back from the Taste Street night market in the Moore Wilson's car park. We already had some shopping to do and know that Moore Wilson's Fresh and Variety departments are hard to resist in the best of times. The event promised over 30 artisan food stalls, each with dishes costing less than $6. What's not to like?

I was glad to find House of Dumplings in among the crowd and began with a selection of pan fried dumplings.

Pork, chicken and beef dumplings with Mum's special sauce
I managed to track down where the pizza I could see others eating came from. 58 Base Limited was making fresh thin crust pizza in little ovens and selling them by the slice, just like you buy in Italy.

I bought some delicious French treats from French Cancan to have later - dark chocolate lava cake with raspberry coulis and an almond croissant. I also took away some galaktoboureko (Greek custard cake) from Elysian Foods and ate these at home where I finally got some peace and quiet.

Fresh marghetira pizza
French delights
And then I conceded defeat.

I really did want to enjoy this event, as I like to support local businesses who make quality, fresh food. But, to be honest, I found the organisation to be nothing short of shambolic. To start off with, the event is simply too big for the venue. The crowds were ridiculous. The surrounding streets were teeming with people all edging their way into the building well before the start time, which would seem great for business but was actually havoc, even for someone who enjoys a bit of chaos every now and then. It was all too much for my partner, who escaped to KFC. It appears he wasn't the only one; I heard people on my way out saying, "I didn't eat anything - let's go somewhere else" or, "It was too busy so I couldn't get any food."

It seems like every stand was responsible for providing their own signage. That's fine, but they needed to be hung from the roof of the car park instead of propped up behind tables. There was no way of seeing what stand was hiding at the end of the seemingly endless queues until you'd shoved your way through the crowd to get close enough ... then it was back into the queue to order and wait for your food or just try and negotiate a path around the baby buggies and people trying to find a quiet spot to eat. Although there were tables in various places when people could stop and eat, they only added to the congestion.

Sadly, I'd give this event a miss next year unless it was held at a bigger venue with better access and parking. The idea was good but a lot more planning is required to make it an enjoyable experience.

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