After our ‘Amuse Bouche’ of wings and bao’s at Boxpark, we headed around the corner onto Great Eastern Street to a graffiti covered building that’s supposed to be where the cool kids hang out to eat. Dinearama.
This is Boxpark minus the shipping containers. We entered past security through what looked like the entrance to an old mechanics garage with a large roller shutter door. We then passed through a maze of upturned oil barrels and cocktail drinkers and into a large area containing a mass of street food stalls.
There’s so much choice here. You can go for jerk chicken from the amusingly named ‘White Men Can’t Jerk’ or how about Mexican? Or wood fired pizza? Fancy a kebab? It’s all here. We carried on with our Asian theme initially by heading to Yum Bun for another round of bao.
They do a crispy chicken bao here but we decided on a homage to David Chang at Momofuku. A pork belly bao with hoisin and cucumber. The saying goes that size isn’t everything but this bao was half the size of its neighbour over the road at Boxpark. The taste, however, made up for it.
Melt in the mouth pork and crunchy cucumber with one of my favourite sauces in the entire world, hoisin. Life was most definitely good right now and my £4.50 ($5.94US) had been very well spent. I must admit, I didn’t envision perching on an upturned, colourful oil drum in the shadow of a German Sex Dungeon (they sell beer, incidentally) enjoying a bao on a friday night in East London.
The communal seating in the centre began to fill up but the place itself wasn’t overly crowded, just at a nice level before the late night rush. It’s worth noting that you will be charged £3 entry after 7pm so we timed our visit perfectly on reflection.
After a walk up the stairs and finding a huge wine bar with a lively atmosphere, we headed back down to the food area. A cider stand offered premium cider at a fair price so we rolled the dice and tried some apple and elderflower Keeper’s Cider for £4.50 (£5.94), This was not only a good price but a quality cider. The flavours were spot on, it was hard to stick to just the one.
The wood fired pizza was doing a roaring trade over in the corner. Hardly surprising when a Margherita, of generous size, was going for £11 ($14.52 US). Just beside the pizza stall we found Chinese dumplings from the company known as ‘Yumplings’.
With three dumplings for £5 ($6.60US) it would have been rude not to have tried them. We went for the pork dumplings with Xian sauce, hot and fresh out of the steamer. While the dumplings came well filled, I wasn’t all that keen on the Xian sauce. They were good but not great.
Rapidly, we were becoming full. We have learned, through experience, to save a little room for dessert. On this occasion, we caught sight of a stand doing doughnuts – amusingly named ‘You Doughnut!’ a common London insult.
These are not your average doughnuts. Toppings on these round pillows of loveliness include salted caramel, oreo cheesecake and chocolate. Sounds alright, doesn’t it? We ordered up a portion of salted caramel and waited while the doughnuts were made fresh.
For £5.50 ($7.26US) these were very good value. Garnished with cinnamon sugar, popcorn, crushed peanuts and salted caramel sauce we had an inkling that these doughnuts might be rather nice. We were correct, they were superb. Very light in texture and slathered in a sweet sauce, yum! The popcorn also was a nice touch.
Dinearama has to be one of our favourite discoveries on this trip. It’s certainly a lot quieter than Boxpark and, in my opinion, contains a better range of places to eat and drink. Prices around the place seemed fair across the board but do note that many stalls only accept card payment. Don’t be put off by the outer appearance of the place, come in and enjoy a real taste of London.
Opening Times: Wednesday-Saturday 1700-2400
Nearest Tube Station: Liverpool Street (Circle, Hammersmith and City, Metropolitan lines)