October 2016 – Crabbieshack, House of Dodo, West India Quay, London
With winter coming on fast the wonderful Kerb on the Quay people are winding down with the last outing of 2016 taking place last week. Meanwhile I managed to revisit two of the food truck I’ve already reviewed, and have some further thoughts on both Crabbieshack and House of Dodo.
Having enjoyed the soft shelled crab burger more than once at Crabbieshack, these guys from the south coast of England came first. I opted to try the scallop burger this time, along with some of their wonderful looking fries. I wasn’t disappointed, and it’s fair to say I’m going to miss these guys when I move jobs in January and can no longer nip out on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday to get my street food fix. That said I won’t miss anything else about Canary Wharf and its soulless surroundings so reminiscent of a recently poked anthill, so I guess I’ll just have to try Leather Lane or Kerb Gherkin, though that’s not every day, rather just once a week on Thursdays (which may be better for my waistline of course).
Anyway, to return to the subject of the scallop burger. First up let it be said that you really can’t make a burger out of scallops, so what this really is is several scallops, with a plethora of accompaniments, served in a bun. They don’t stay in the bun, you really can’t pick this up and carry it to your mouth without ending up wearing it, but damn is it good! Take off the lid (and believe me unless you have hands like shovels, you’ll have to) and you find a healthy scattering of small, well griddled scallops and whatever dressings and toppings you opted for. It will look something like this!
As you can see, there was also a mass of salad, some sweetcorn dressing, and a whole load of other vegetables, which made it a slightlier healthy option than the crab burger on the reasoning that it didn’t have a coating of crunchy batter. I chose the sweetcorn salsa and the 1000 island lobster mayonnaise as my optional extras and I’m pretty sure they threw in some other bits and pieces too. It was gloriously messy, very tasty, and I pretty much needed a wash after I’d finished, but they remain one of my absolute favourites of the street food vendors around these parts. Oh and in a fit of bravado I had the Old Bay fries, which were slightly less crispy on the outside than I would have preferred, but had enough crunch to make them interesting, especially with the spicy seasoning the scattered over them.
Of House of Dodo, I’d had a somewhat mixed view on first trying them with undercooked rice and a goat curry that was more bone than meat. However, on a day of limited choice of stalls as they melted away with the fine weather, House of Dodo it was. This time I went for the coconut beef, and it could not have been more different. The meat was soft, falling apart, and had obviously been slow cooked to within an inch of its life. The rice was soft too, each grain properly swollen from the cooking liquid, and so very much better than on my first visit when it had come across as gritty.
Suddenly I could understand why their Mauritian cooking is so popular. The dish was described as slow cooked beef marinated in Mauritian spices and fragranced with coconut and coriander, and it was fabulous, just the thing on a chilly Autumn day to transport the diner to somewhere much sunnier, if only in their heads (and bellies). Along with the rice came a portion of sour zasar (a Mauritian salad of pickled veg), natural yoghurt, chillies, and their own mango sauce, along with extra coriander and chillies if you’d like (I did)! With one mouthful they’d redeemed themselves and I went back to the office a happier – and warmer – woman.