Feast! Your Eyes (& Mouths) On This, Shepherd’s Bush

05 Aug 2016

Confessions: I’ve a bit of a thing for Cuban men. Yup. The twinkle of a Latin eye is all it takes to make me weak at the knees. So, when two bearded hotties served me up my first Cuban sandwich. Well, all my Christmases came at once.

The scene of the crime is Shepherd’s Bush’s cute street food market, Little Feast. The purveyor of nine inches of Cuban heaven? Jama Cubana: winners of the world’s best Cuban sandwich award at Miama’s National Cuban Sandwich Festival 2016. Hang on a sec. National. Cuban. Sandwich. Festival. Just give me a moment…

Right: back to business! Little Feast is the polite street food market for your Shepherd’s Bush professional: a walled garden tucked into an alley, all white-washed wood and tendrilled trellises. Blue suits and crisp white shirts gabble at the rough oak tables, and pergolas and grassy banks replace the rough and ready grit of Dalston Yard or Model Market.

But the food at Little Feast’s six kitchens was gutsy and then some. Dreamy boys aside, Jama Cubana’s Cuban Sandwich Melt at £7 really was the business. There ain’t nothing like Cuban bread crisped on the plancha sandwiching a holy melting pot of mojo pork, glazed ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickle and yellow mustard. Created in Tampa, Florida in the 1980s for Cuban cigar workers as they walked to work, the cubano or mixto is a food icon that’s stood the test of time, and no surprise. I’ll be back for another, especially if it comes served with the same cheeky smile.

Nanny Bills served croquettes you’d sell your Nana for. Pea, Feta, Broadbean and Mint with Stracha Mayo were fresh, toothsome summer flavours with a smoky dusting of paprika salt. Mac ‘N’ Cheese with Hot Sauce were like a comforting hug from a perfectly tanned lothario. In a good way. Actually, at 6 croquettes for £9, your Nana’s probably safe for now.

A generous mixed box of churrasco misto – Pork Loin, Beef Silverside, Lamb Leg and Pork Ribs with Chimichurri Sauce – all at £10 from Bull & Rancher would keep any besuited gringo more than happy. With plenty of flavour and char, liberally dosed with South America’s gorgeous tart and herby sauce, it was a barbeque feast that did the trick for me too.

And what about Cheeky Burger’s glorious-looking buns? Nanny Bill’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Jama Cubana’s Choripan (that’s a chorizo hotdog with salsa)? Or The Marshmallowist’s glorious whole-fruit marshmallows – a world away from the dumpy puffs you pull out of a bag? A return trip is on the cards for sure.

We washed everything down with good rosé – just the thing for a balmy night under the pergola – and bottles of Doom Bar. The railway arch bar has a short list of reds and whites, plus cider, the odd cocktail and pilsner on tap, all for between £4-£7. But why so few craft beers?

Little Feast is about big flavours and a bit of rough for a well-spoken, hungry crowd. If it’s tattoos, man buns and a hint of delapidation you’re after, better to head East. But for twinkly eyed Cubans working the tastiest magic this side of Westfield, get yourself down there. Just make sure you send photos.


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