The Streatham Food Festival, which started on 1st July and ends this Saturday 9th, has 40 eateries on Europe’s longest high street, offering £2 – £10 deals on food, from Italian to Thai, to Turkish to Caribbean.
The festival also hosts virtual cooking demonstrations throughout the week and a fundraising food stall on Friday 8th to raise money for the Streatham drop-in centre for refugees.
The yearly food fest has ran since 2009, initiated by the Streatham Business Improvement District, made up of businesses funding projects to promote the area.
I went to four restaurants to try their discounted dishes and find out what is in store for foodies this week.
A high street new-comer Elements Sushi, one of the few sushi-houses in Streatham Hill, has delicious varieties of Japanese food from noodles to curry to ramen to lots of types of sushi.
Understated in its furnishings and packed away at the end of this mammoth food tour, it would be easy to miss.
However sitting by the window in the non-fussy, airy space, tucking into some on-offer options, gyozas and a katsu curry, was a lovely lunch get-away from the bustle outside.
The £8 katsu curry on discount had a perfect crispiness to its chicken and a flavoursome thick sauce that usurped your average katsu easily, served with pickled ginger and salad.
The portion was huge which is great because of how moreish it was.
The £5 four gyozas didn’t fall into soggy territory and its chicken filling punctuated with chives and onions was smooth and fresh.
This restaurant is very bang worth its buck and a go-to for someone wanting a wide variety of real fresh Japanese food.
Portuguese tapas is something I had never tried. What I found in La Casita’s food was an emphasis on flavour and freshness in this homage to traditional Portuguese cooking.
I ordered the grilled aubergine and peppers in which Casita showed the potential for simple whole food.
The vegetables were deliciously salty and flavoured to offset the bitter taste, and not too oily. The accompanying earthy chilli, fresh tomato and rice taster dish was a unique twist.
The restaurant décor gave a glimpse of Europe with its pasture-scene printed tiles on the orange walls.
I will definitely be returning to soak up this ambience with some friends and enjoy some more healthy plates.
Roots stays true to its name-claim as a traditional Lebanese grill offering mezze plates and take-away fast-food, like grilled meat wraps.
Another real taste of Lebanon is evoked in colourful stained glass lampshades, velvet chairs and ornate floor tiles.
The restaurant opens out into an open-air shisha garden, which on Saturday nights transforms into a karaoke space.
I tried their food tour favourite, the Chicken Shawarma sandwich, which was nicely marinated and a reliable choice for a very hearty take-away on the move – scoring points for size, although the ratio was a bit too in favour of chicken for me.
While it was too late in the day to try the other deal (named mysteriously ‘special lunch’) it feels like Roots made rushed choices for their food tour deals.
With 100 fresh dishes to choose from that capture Lebanese cuisine, Roots packs much more promise for a sit-down weekend meal with friends.
In El Chicos I got exactly what I expected from the Mexican and cocktail bar that served up all the favourites: burritos, nachos, quesadillas, enchiladas, and fajitas and more, with vegan versions too.
It started as a family business which hit the high-street back in 1998, following their Turkish grill and preceding their fitness health food café.
It is impressive how the owners have captured such a successful brand in each Streatham eatery, especially El Chicos, which shouts its colourful maximalist charm from the high street.
I chose one pork and one vegetarian soft shell taco priced at £5.95, instead of nachos or slow baked chicken wings for the same price.
They were very substantial and completely packed with filling, laced with cheese, with a pot of guacamole on the side and my margarita was fabulous.
This Mexican is perfect for a cheap dinner with friends, or for a fun night out, sinking some of their 40 types of cocktails on their dance floor until 1am.
The restaurant also has a Tuesday ladies night where girls get drinks half price.
It is a wonder that Clapham and London Bridge seem like obvious meeting, eating and drinking spots amongst my friends.
Streatham Hill truly does host one of the most diverse food cultures in London, without straining your wallet and, at the food festival, the price is twice as nice.
To start the food tour and see what’s on offer, check out the map here.