Places To Eat In London: Smokin’ Lotus
While it seems like summer is the prime time in London for street food, I actually like this in-between season, where you want a jumper and a light jacket (maybe a scarf) but you’re in no way sheltering from the cold to hit up a few food trucks. You appreciate tucking into your treats a bit more, the warmth of your wraps, sandwiches and just-from-the-oven bakes, each lunchtime a different adventure. A couple of weeks ago found me checking out the vendors at KERB collective’s Canary Wharf lunchtime market where I found one of the best Asian barbecue sandwiches I’ve had in a very long time from the guys at Smokin’ Lotus.
The menu is pretty simple: decide if you want the 8 hour slow smoked pork belly with char sui sauce or the 11 hour slow smoked pulled beef brisket with a chilli hoisin sauce (oh, or the alder wood smoked tofu with a creamy sesame dressing, but why would you? Just look at all of that amazing, unctuous slow cooked meat?) and decide if you’re going to have a sandwich or a salad box. The sandwich is the better choice in my book (I was taking a peek at peoples orders while mine was being prepared) but it is certainly the messy one, so if you’re planning on taking your lunch back to the office the salad box is perhaps the better option!
You get a choice of toppings from fresh coriander, spring onions, mixed sesame seeds, fresh pickled chilli and homemade chilli sauce. Go for all of them, though if like me you like a bit of heat without the spice being overwhelming, the pickled chilli spices are actually milder than the sauce, so get those, rather than both.
So, how was my sandwich, made on Japanese mayo, Asian slaw and pickled daikon topped ciabatta? When I went to sit down, I thought there was no way the loaded sandwich was going to hold together, but miraculously while I said it was a bit messy with bits of slaw falling out of it, the bread held steady and there was only really 10% loss of filling – colour me impressed because before I ate it I thought it was the wrong choice of bread. My pork was rich and succulent, cooked to perfection (and not dry at all), and the fillings really packed a punch with flavour. The star of the show was the pickled daikon, which added freshness and really cut through the rich meat.
At only £6, confronted with a load of food trucks and limited time to choose, Smokin’ Lotus is what you need to make a bee-line for. You can find out more about them and find out which KERB they’ll be appearing at next (they have markets in King’s Cross, Camden, London Bridge, the City, Canary Wharf and Paddington with rotating vendors) on their vendor profile here. [Edit: Saff & Aide have reliably informed us that they’re currently in residence at Magic Roundabout in Old Street!]