I first came across the concept of street food when I stayed in New York briefly a few years ago. It generally involves a restaurant, a truck & some good food in a smaller than normal portion for a reasonable price. My particular favourite was a Korean food truck that sold pork & kimchi tortillas for $6 near my apartment – they were to die for!
When I heard that Scoop Events & Smoak Food had teamed up to bring a pop-up street food restaurant, I grabbed a ticket straight away. Scoop are renown caterers within the Glasgow & central Scotland region. Smoak, on the other hand, have a guest residence within The Variety bar where they served typical American BBQ food such as Beef Brisket, Pulled Pork and anything else that can be smoked.
The event took place in SWG3, which is a warehouse near the railway line at Yorkhill. If you don’t know the area it is slightly out of the way but staying nearby, it did not take us long to find it. On arrival, there was a big sign directing us into the restaurant area & the setup was amazing! The first thing that you could see was the food trucks, one for each company, stationed at the back of the room. There were long tables for people to sit & enjoy their meal, whilst to the right there was a bar area if you wanted to hang about after your meal.
As part of the ticket price (£5), there was a drink on arrival – beer or cocktail. As I’m not a beer fan, I went for the cocktail which was vodka, ginger beer & elderflower. I wasn’t too sure about the sound of it but it was really refreshing & came in a brown paper bag! The menus were on the table & the advice was to pick 3 dishes each out of the 8 tapas style dishes that were listed. We asked the waitress if she thought this was enough & she advised us to go for 2 each as that would be enough.
Depending upon which dish you chose, it would be cooked by either the Sccop or the Smoak team so they would come at different times. We had a 50/50 split of dishes from each team. Our Scoop dishes arrived first – Ox Cheek Tacos & Monkfish BLT. As they were tapas style dishes, the portions did not look that big but they definitely made up for it in flavour! Having never had Ox Cheek before, I didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the rich taste of the meat which was accompanied by a spicy sauce. I couldn’t quite place my finger on what was in it but it made the taco totally unique from any similar dish I’ve tasted before. However, as the dishes were marketed for sharing, it didn’t make sense as to why there were 3 served per portion. The monkfish blt’s were also tasty & much to our delight, instead of tomatoes, it came with a smoked tomato ketchup (we’re not fans of raw tomato). The monkfish pieces themselves were pretty small but as they were tapas, you can forgive that.
Our Smoak dishes followed not long after the Scoop ones. From Smoak, we ordered the Smoaked Chicken & confit Sliders & the Smoaked Trout salad. The sliders were amazing! The brioche bun was really fluffy & the chicken was full of flavour. It was accompanied by a spicy bourbon sauce to dip the sliders into. I’ll be honest in that I didn’t really find any flavour from the dip but Al said he really liked it. The trout salad was Smoak’s take on a caesar salad with crispy anchovies & a creamy dressing. It was again full of flavour & I loved the anchovies as they were similar to crispy onions but only a bit saltier.
Surprisingly the dishes were really filling & I was glad we took the waitress’ advice & only ordered 4 between us. I did decide to order a dessert as they sounded too good to turn down. The choice was between a white chocolate cheesecake & a peanut butter parfait with jam sorbet. Being a peanut butter fan, I went for the parfait. It arrived in a star shaped wafer dish with a lump of sorbet on the top. The sorbet was a strong berry flavour which I was not expecting. As it only stated jam, I had got it into my head it would’ve been strawberry flavoured. However, it did go well with the sorbet, offsetting the peanut butter flavour. The parfait itself was not as strong a flavour as I would’ve liked. If you have tried Reese’s peanut butter cups, you’ll know that is a strong & distinct peanut butter flavour. That was the type of flavour I was expecting but it was more of a subtle peanut butter hint to it. Saying that, it was a really nice dessert & a good end to a lovely meal.
We decided to sit & have a drink afterwards & soak up the atmosphere. There was a DJ playing laidback funk-style tunes & with the large gas heater & candles, it was nice & toasty in the warehouse. One of the drinks that had taken my eye was the tapioca tequila. This was a shot of tequila accompanied by a shot with pineapple juice, chilli, lime & coriander. We had one each & it was really refreshing. The tequila was of such good quality it would’ve been a good post-dinner drink on its own but with the additional shot, it made for a really nice palate cleanser.
Overall, I really enjoyed the pop-up experience & the quality of food from both companies was top-notch! One drawback was the cost of the dishes, with each being either £6 or £7 each. That meant a bill of almost £40 for both of us for 4 dishes, a dessert & another drink each, not to mention the £5 each for the ticket to the event. Despite that, it was a good night & I hope to see other pop-up nights soon. Keep an eye out for Smoak’s food truck hitting the streets of Glasgow soon!