This summer saw a storming series of food festivals from Blue Collar Street Food, including Cheese Feast and Feastival, in Forbury Gardens. This month, Reading’s favourite food market organisers are back with another four day-long food feast on 11-14 October, but there’s a twist – this time it’s meat-focused and it’s taking place in the historic Reading Abbey ruins.
The Blue Collar feastivals are fun, relaxed street food markets with a variety of stalls, a bar and a central seating area, with hay bales and deck chairs around a fire pit. At Meat Feast most of the food stalls will sit in the Chapter House in the Abbey (that’s the one where the ‘Summer is Icumen In’ plaque is), with the bar, seating area and a few more food stalls in the larger, greener space of the dormitory ruins. That means you can eat and drink with a view of not only the Abbey, but also Reading Gaol and more modern landmark, The Blade.
I interviewed Blue Collar Founder Glen Dinning back in May and he said about Meat Feast: “I wanted to do an event that had a link to the history of the Abbey and, barbecuing meat, I think, reminds you of days gone by, where you’d catch an animal and eat it. That, in a way, fits in with the ruins.” Fortunately, you’ll be pleased to know you won’t be forced to catch your own dinner at Meat Feast, but there will be lots of barbecuing.
Read on for our guide to what food you can eat at Meat Feast Reading 2018.
What can I eat?
Meat is, of course, the obvious answer to this question. But there’ll be 11 stalls to choose from, all offering a variety of meat-focused dishes. There’s also non-meat options and some other dishes such as pizza, or topped chips, if you don’t feel like a plate full of meat.
I’m looking forward to the return of Sear Street Kitchen, who made their street food debut (that’s ever) at Cheese Feast back in April with incredible lamb and feta tacos. The Stoke Row-based pair get rich smoked flavours from joints of meat cooked on a Japanese Kamado grill. They’ll be serving up slow cooked pork barbecue boxes and you will likely have to race me to the queue.
Regular Wednesday market favourite Peru Sabor are always popular for Peruvian spiced ox heart or chicken wraps and there’s also German bratwurst, Argentinian steak sandwiches and brisket chilli. For something less meat heavy, look out for The Chipsmyth, who will putting meaty toppings on portions of fries.
The full foodie line up is:
- Sear Street Kitchen: Slow cooked pork barbecue boxes, served with new potatoes, house slaw, mustard mayo and crispy onions.
- Como en Casa: Argentinian steak sandwiches and meat tapas.
- Kumbites: South African berbere chicken wings, stewed lamb or sticky pork ribs, served with chakalaka beans or jollof rice.
- Mexican Odyssey: Chillies including beef brisket and chicken and chorizo, as well as burritos and jamon croquettes.
- John the Greek: Gourmet kebabs and mountain tea marinated chicken and pork souvlaki.
- Peru Sabor: Peruvian spiced ox heart, beef, lamb and chicken combinations.
- Mingo’s BBQ: Caribbean jerk chicken and slow cooked goat curry.
- Hott Mess: Dry aged beef, lamb and halloumi burgers.
- The Massita: Korean and Japanese fusion dishes including sweet chilli chicken topped with crispy string potatoes.
- The Chipsmyth: Hand cut chips with a selection of meat toppings.
- Deli Vita: Stone baked Italian pizza with Italian cured meat toppings.
- Marion’s Deli: Authentic German bratwurst, pork steaks and schnitzel.
What if I don’t eat meat?
Don’t panic. There’s still quite a few options for vegetarians and vegans, despite the carnivorous event name. Seven of the stalls will have vegetarian or vegan dishes, including halloumi burgers from Hott Mess, veggie wraps from John the Greek and vegan chilli from Mexican Odyssey and more.
What about the drinks?
As always the Blue Collar bar will be on site for all your beverage needs. As well as cocktails in plastic cups, prosecco, wine and soft drinks, Blue Collar are again partnering with Oxford’s Tap Social Movement Brewery to offer the exclusive lager Blue Collar Beer and Good Size,Eh? Pale Ale on draft.
When is it?
Meat Feast is on Thursday 11 – Sunday 14 October in the Abbey Ruins, Reading, it runs from 11am late each day. Entry is free, just turn up. Find out more.
Hello! I'm Claire, the founding editor of Explore Reading. I'm a Reading native and former digital director of Time Out Shanghai. I founded Explore Reading so no one can say, ‘there’s nothing to do in Reading’, again. When not editing Explore Reading, I'm probably drinking a Manhattan.