08 December 2015

Feast Your Eyes on Hawker House, Canada Water

London is full of street-food dining options these days but no one does a better job of organising winter- and British-weather-proof street food markets than the guys at Street Feast. They find great venues and bring in a wide variety of food and drink vendors, as well as a relaxed but fun vibe. I've written previously about Street Feast's Model Market in Lewisham and Hawker House in Hackney, but was delighted to find that Hawker House's latest home is a little closer to my home. Canada Water, to be more exact: a warehouse on Surrey Quays Road that used to house the shouty discount store known as WHAT!!

Hawker House is open on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 pm until 19 December, but I think are reopening for another few months at the end of January. It's free to get in before 7 pm and £3 afterwards. We got there just before 7 pm and luckily, there was no queue. The venue is a five-minute walk from Canada Water Tube, just behind the big Decathlon store.

Inside, it was already very busy when we arrived. We decided to start with a drink and I was pleased to find that Milk and Honey — a bar and private members' club in Soho that I've always wanted to visit — has a pop-up bar on the upper floor, if you're looking for a classier drink. The cocktail menu was seriously impressive and it was very difficult to pick just one drink (everything is £9).

The Florodora with gin, ginger, raspberry, lime and soda is exactly the kind of cocktail I usually order, but I decided to be a little more adventurous and go for the Penicillin instead, which combined scotch, honey, ginger, lemon and peat. It definitely had a peaty taste, but it was absolutely delicious and rather comforting given that I had a slight sore throat. I tried a sip of my brother's Roberto Burns (tequila, mezcal, Benedictine and vermouth), which was complex and very moreish. We couldn't find any seats at the bar so we walked over to the balcony area to people-watch while we drank.

By then, we were definitely in need of some sustenance so we did a lap to review the options. I was sorely tempted by the pulled pork from Smokestak and the South American steaks from Meat Hook, but some nights (most, in my case), it just has to be a burger, so I headed to Chuck Burger where a fairly big line had formed. They were offering two burgers — a pulled pork option and the Devil Burger, with crispy bacon, cheese, grilled jalapeƱos, sriracha mayo and green sauce. I ordered the latter, which a delicious, juicy, messy, spicy £8 meat feast. Strongly recommended.

We picked up another round of drinks from the Hangar Bar, which has a selection of beers, wines and cocktails, helpfully categorised in three price ranges: economy, business and first (the cocktails still ranged from about £7-10). I had some kind of fruity tequila concoction, which was good, but nowhere near as good as at Milk & Honey. We finally found some seats — no mean feat — and then thought about whether we had room for any more food. We didn't, but I couldn't visit Hawker House without at least one taco from Breddos (£4 for one, £7 for two, £9 for three), so I made one final pitstop. The fish tacos are fantastic — the fish is tasty and the batter perfectly crispy. They are super-spicy, though, so have a cool drink to hand if you are a wuss like me.

Hawker House is an excellent spot for a night of casual-cool wining and dining. I hope its success will encourage other pop-ups to consider the Canada Water/Bermondsey area as suitable locations.

Hawker House Canada Water. 1 Surrey Quays Road, London, SE16 7PJ (Tube: Canada Water). Website. Twitter.

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