Down the Hatch at Food n Flea
I’ve been talking a bit of sanctimonious bollocks about reviewing places during their soft launch, in recent social media twitterings. I directly followed this with visits to four places that had been opened for a collective seven days. It’s called a double standard, folks – I’m a big fan.
Anyhoo, today I outdid myself by being the first ever customer at Down the Hatch’s new stall at the Food n Flea market.
This wasn’t exactly their first rodeo, though, as their cafe in Port Edgar is a well-established favourite. Aside from much vaunted poutine, they specialise in an ever-changing array of Canadian and North American classics. They have built a very appreciative audience.
It was good to renew acquaintances with owner Neal. He’d alerted me to the Port Edgar place as it isn’t on my usual round. We have many friends in common from his days in the bar trade.
Their stall is putting poutine to the fore with their house, pulled pork and veg options. You can also try their Philly cheese steak sandwich with a small house poutine for £9. It was to this that I was steered.
This was assembled to order. Given it was the first time they’d boxed the dish, they took a moment to work out the logistics but it was soon with me looking monstrously good.
I’ve struggled with poutine in the past but this was excellent. Aside from the gravy being extremely palatable the chips were just spot-on. They were crisp and beautifully seasoned. The cheese curds were profuse and gave things the required squeak.
The cheese steak was to the same superb standard. The bread was soft with just a little crispness at the edges. The beef packed excellent depth of flavour with just the right amount of cheese goo. I was very impressed.
So overall, I suspect Down the Hatch is going to do rather well in its new city centre location. Both dishes I sampled were excellent and it rightly gains a coveted five stars as it’s among the best street food places in the city based on their first serving of their first customer. That’s pretty good going. Make sure to visit soon.