Weekend Mercury: New Food Trends Wow Critics / Poison Punters

The borough’s internationally acclaimed farmers’ market / organic souk / whole food hangout / alfresco nightclub, Dalston Street Eats, is expanding as a result of its unbelievable success in separating gormless suckers from their cash.

‘We’ve done organic, locally-sourced, fair-trade, home-grown, line-caught, ethnically-grilled, sincerely-slaughtered, neighbourhood-fresh, cruelty-free, smilingly-butchered and recently-deceased,’ said Street Eats supremo Emile Bande-Gastrique, 37, ‘so we were running out of spurious nomenclature we can use to pump up the price of a burger.’

‘Fortunately, Dalston is full of shifty chancers who are always ready to have a go, and we’ve been overwhelmed by applications from prospective stallholders,’ he said.

Larry the Donkey, the day before yesterday

One new stall to premiere at last night’s Street Eats is owned by the Dalston People’s Theatre, the well-known local avant-garde playhouse and death trap. ‘We are offering a wide selection of food for the soul,’ said Ms Clytemnestra Karenina, 23, girlfriend of the theatre’s director Viktor von Doom. ‘Food for the soul. Not for the tongue or the stomach or anything, just for the soul.’

Seeing us trying to back away politely she insisted on explaining her concept: ‘We perform, through mime, the preparation of any meal the customer desires. This simple act is accomplished with such passion, such Stanislavskian integrity, that the customer actually tastes this ‘food’ more intensely than he has tasted anything ever before. They feast on a glorious, entirely imaginary, repast of the spirit. And this – this! – is the power of live theatre.’ When we asked if she was charging actual money for this crap she sort of shrugged and went, ‘Well, it is Dalston, innit?’

‘Actually we sold out about 10.30. Minted.’

Another stall new to habitués of the market is Calhoun’s, a new enterprise from the owners of Calhoun’s of Ridley Road – Purveyors of Bush Meat and Exotic Road Kill to the Gentry. ‘We’ve had a mixed night, to be honest,’ said Mr Vernon ‘Little Vern’ Calhoun, son of the stall’s owner. ‘We struggled to shift some of our more specialised cuts of meat early on. But our Kestrel Eggs Benedict went okay as soon as we scribbled over the ‘kestrel’ bit. And that Hugh Fearnley-Whasisnames was here, filming. We hadn’t sold a single Barbecued Chimp’s Hand on a Stick till he showed up. But he had one, of course, and after that we could hardly keep up with demand.’

After the Mercury had finished retching into a bucket, he went on: ‘The real disappointment was our Stuffed Tiger Gaul Bladder Drizzled with Jus de Badger. I just don’t think Dalston’s ready for those yet. But we found a substitute for them later on, so we did alright really.’

In unrelated news: Larry, the donkey from the Hackney City Farm went missing yesterday evening, presumed eaten.


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