The Diary: No horsing about, it’s good str-eating

Ben Smith with his new Mobile bar
Ben Smith with his new Mobile bar
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STREET food: dodgy hot dogs tasting of brine, half-cooked kebabs, and burgers where the only thing you’re sure of is it sure ain’t beef between your baps. All at a price one might usually associate with a dinner at The Ritz.

Right? Wrong, it seems.

A new Sheffield initiative announced today is aiming to dispel such myths and put the ‘eat’ in street, and turn the outdoors delicious.

A collective of young foodies is to launch a new monthly food night market taking place at a different iconic city venue each time in a bid to get more people enjoying that most social of activities: eating good grub for fair fares in the open air.

Think burritos and bagels, fresh fish and chips, and clay oven pizzas. Think Asian stews, veggie curries and - but of course - Sheffield pies. Think craft beer being served from the back of - now this could be unfortunate given recent news - a horse box. More of which shortly.

For now, the first of these new events is to be held by The Nichols Building, in Shalesmoor, next month. After that other venues may include Devonshire Green and Hillsborough Park.

And organisers, calling themselves NoSh (Northern StrEats Sheffield), hope the launch market - featuring five food traders, live music and, fingers crossed, some half decent weather - will see Sheffielders spend the evening sampling new foods from independent sellers.

“The street food night market is a concept which - I really hate to say this - is booming in London,” says Andrew Critchett, who runs his own Fish& street trailer and who is behind the initiative. “It’s an evening where the focus is on sharing quality affordable bites and enjoying some entertainment.”

Those signed up to take part in the first one include The Street Food Chef which does Mexican and Pizza Pod.

“It’s going to be taste-tastic” says Ben Smith, another organiser.

Indeed Ben’s own trailer, The Hop Box, has been drawing admiring glances since it pulled up in Sheffield last year.

The craft beer bar is somewhat unusual in that (a) it offers a range of independently brewed real ales, and (b) it’s in a horse box.

“I was drinking some horrible chain lager at a festival a couple of years ago and the idea just struck,” says the 30-year-old of Middlewood Road, Hillsborough. “I knew I’d appreciate being able to get a nice pint and thought others would too.”

He bought the horse box (“I wanted different”) and set up in London in 2011. It went well and he relocated here last year because he wanted to be somewhere nice for his daughter to grow up. Now he takes the trailer to festivals, markets and other events.

“And I can promise you,” he notes, “there’s no horse in the beer.”

Takes place March 28, 5 - 10.30pm, £1 entry.