Thursday, 11 August 2011

Cafe 1001 Brick Lane review - Dray Walk's street meat grill


Address: 1 Dray Walk, Brick Lane
London E1 6QL
Tel: 020 7247 9679
Nearest Tube station: Shoreditch High Street

Price: Below £10pp
Service charge: N/A
This is a guest post by Susan, a professional carnivore living in London.

I have had the dubious honor of eating “street meat”, that is meat that has been prepared in a cart or on a roadside, in nine countries on four continents. It has become something of a personal quest for me to find the “Holy Grail of street meat-dom”. It may be a totally impossible goal, but somewhere out there, there must be some erstwhile street side vendor preparing the perfect burger, kabob, or gyro. I try to approach every street meat experience with zero expectations, so that I can be pleasantly surprised if it is good, and not terribly disappointed if it is not. Consequently, while on a recent trip to London, I approached my trip to Cafe 1001’s outdoor corner grill in Brick Lane with few assumptions, and the simple idea that it was yet another adventure in curbside barbecue.

"...I was a handed a
styrofoam container so full
that I couldn’t close it."

I am uncertain whether it was my timing (I ordered the mixed grill just before a pack of people showed up), or the way I look (I come from a very mixed racial heritage which renders me mildly exotic looking everywhere-great at bars, not so great at immigration), but for my £6 I was a handed a styrofoam container so full that I couldn’t close it. After making my way to the curb while juggling my bag, the aforementioned container, and a bottle of water, I sat down and surveyed my spoils. I was pleasantly surprised to find the container full of an honest-to-goodness salad made up of lettuce and four or five vegetables that were not lettuce! All of the vegetables were fresh, clean, and tasted good. Dumped on top of the salad were two grilled chicken breasts, a long sausage, and half a grilled potato. The chicken was seasoned, completely cooked, and actually quite excellent. The sausage was also heavily seasoned, a little salty for my taste, but again, very well prepared. The only disappointment was the potato. It was not bad, by any stretch of the imagination, but in comparison to the rest of the greatness on offer in my foam tray, it was less successful and tasted overcooked. Looking around me at the hordes of over people digging into similarly brimming styrofoam containers, it is apparent that the two men slinging meat and vegetables around in the Cafe’s outdoor kitchen are doing something right. For those of you, like me, who enjoy rucking up to a new spot and grabbing some cheap eats, I can honestly recommend trying out Cafe 1001.

Susan is an amateur interior designer and professional carnivore living in London with her two daughters. She frequently writes on behalf of a leading discount sofa website and a variety of food blogs.

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