Places To Eat In Kent: The Food Village at Macknade, Faversham
On Thursday I did a thing. I managed to get out the house and shoot only my second ‘Places To Eat‘ feature since February 2020, and sitting out in the sunshine, sipping rose and dining on delicious street food was absolutely glorious.
My destination? The guys at Macknade (you can check out my post where I take you on a tour of their brilliant independent food hall here) kindly invited me and my guests down to have lunch The Food Village, their brand new outdoor street food hall at their Faversham location, a lovely oasis of outdoor tables, a good mix and sunny and shady spots, and lots of delicious food.
Something I never had to think about in the past when writing food reviews is if somewhere is Covid secure or not: is where I’m recommending you go eat somewhere where we felt comfortable to relax and have a good time, safe in the knowledge we won’t be contributing to the spread of disease or getting sick simply by being there? Well, from the moment we arrived at The Food Village there was absolutely nothing to give any cause for concern. All the tables are well distanced, wiped down before you’re seated and each has it’s own menu from all the vendors so you don’t have to get up – there is table service and everything is brought to you.
Everything arrives at the table as and when it is ready, so first we enjoyed a few treats from Silver Birch Fine Foods who take American slow cooking and smoking techniques and fuse them with Asian fusion flavours.
While everything was delicious, the real winner from everything we tried were the Fully Loaded Fries with 72 Hour Hickory Smoked Brisket: slow smoked beef piled on top of a big dish of truffle parmesan fries served with sriracha aioli, raw Asian slaw, chilli pickled pineapple, crispy onions and micro greens. The meat was incredible, succulent, tender and with a wonderful flavour and the fries were really good too – just chunky enough to make a satisfying meal rather than a mess which is the problem with many other loaded fries. I could also have that pickled pineapple on everything.
In case loaded fries are not really your thing, I can also highly recommend the Ponzu Pulled Pork Stack, wonderfully rich and zingy Japanese-style pulled pork on a charcoal bun with miso mayo and Asian slaw. Not only did it taste fantastic, but it managed to have a soft pillowy bun without falling apart as you eat, something I myself struggled to achieve when I was perfecting my Slow Cooker Barbecue Pulled Pork recipe the other week.
They’ve got some brand new, on-site smokers going too now, and we were also lucky enough to sample a dish that is just having the finishing touches put to it before it arrives on the menu which was just beautiful (to eat as well as to look at!): a whole baked sea bass, stuffed with fresh thyme and hot smoked for 25 minutes before being served with wild garlic aioli, crisp apple, fennel, matcha powder and charred lime. Look out for this one!
Next up pizza from Mackanade’s own deck – while most of the street food is Thursday to Saturday, you can gran these to eat in The Village or take away, along with their excellent looking sandwiches every day. It was very good pizza, bright, fresh, delicious and simple with a good crust – even if you fancy something else, just get a simple margarita for the table to share – you won’t regret it! Also the next time I visit I won’t be planning dinner as this is good enough to take home with me to reheat for later!
If really good, fresh Indian food is more your style Paul Babra has opened a street kitchen serving all manner of fresh, delicious classics – I had my eye on the coconut fish curry and the saag aloo, but in the end I kept it simple with a street food classic that is also a favourite of mine: Samosa Chaat – a delicious veggie samosa piled up with all different types of yogurt, chutneys and crunchy bits. Such a riot to each, and it managed the perfect balance between aromatic and just spicy enough.
After you have eaten do of course take a moment to take a turn around the food hall where there is not only a lot of fantastic fresh and local produce but also an excellent butchery, a fish counter, a bottle shop, deli and bakery. I was also really excited to find they’ve got a new Japanese and Korean section full of specialist ingredients I usually have to order online.
Thank you so much to Macknade for inviting us along for lunch! You can find the menus for The Food Village online here. They’re open for pizza and sandwiches every day from 9am-4pm, until 5pm on Saturdays and late until 7:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays. The rest of the street food vendors are open Thursday through Sunday, 11am until 4pm, again open later until 7:30pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Oh, and did I mention that my friends Taco Bill will be arriving with their delicious, authentic Mexican street food on Thursday? You can check out their fantastic tacos at their last residency here.