Last minute, spontaneous plans are sometimes the best, right? Especially when they involve food, mojitos and a good cause. Oh, and Gary Lineker too, I guess. Intrigued yet?
A couple of weeks back, Unearthed gave me the opportunity to head along to Action Against Hunger‘s Auction Against Hunger night – an evening of street food, drinks and auctioning off top prizes from chefs and foodie icons, all raising money to save the lives of malnourished children and families across the world.
I only found out I was going to the auction about six hours before it started and was wearing my oldest dress and battered trainers. So had to quickly embark on a super speedy trip to go home after work, get changed and get over to Hawker House’s Street Feast venue. Thankfully, I don’t live too far away so managed to get there at a decent time still. After bumping into a couple of familiar faces in the queue, we were checked in and left to explore what could probably best be described as a street food playground.
We were given a card each with a handy little listing of all the vendors and what we could pick up – it was limited to six dishes before 8pm, but after that, it was a free-for-all with as much as you wanted. As we only arrived at 7pm and queues were pretty bonkers, we actually ended up only trying one thing before 8pm kicked in. Whoops.
As soon as we arrived, drinks were order of the day – ticket price included unlimited booze(!) so we hopped into the bar queue for some tasty Mojitos. Unfortunately, we managed to pick the queue that was moving at an absolute snail’s pace so it took AGES to get served. As a result, we got three drinks each to make the queuetime worth it.
As well as cocktails, they were also serving up lager and wine, but when cocktails are involved, y’all know what I’m gonna go for. Towards the end of the evening, the cocktails ran out, but we still managed to get a few more beers and G&Ts in before calling it a night.
After queueing for an absolute age, we finally got our first proper dish – a ShakeShack Aberdeen Angus burger with tasty pork crackling and melted cheese. Despite being underwhelmed by my first visit to ShakeShack, this burger was great – as was the ice cream and wine we got to sample while waiting in the queue. Perhaps its time for me to give the Shack another try, eh?
Barrafina‘s Cuttlefish Croquettes were definitely an interesting thing to try – as it’s on the list of places I want to try, we made a beeline for the stand pretty early on. The croquettes were unusual but tasty, with a crisp breadcrumb casing and a soft, silky cuttlefish filling. It totally wasn’t what I was expecting at all (well, I don’t really know what I was expecting, really though) but I enjoyed my bite nonetheless.
Heading inside and under cover, we grabbed some eats from Rola Wala, who offer ‘Twisted Indian Street Food’. Unfortunately, their naan bread toasting oven was broken so we didn’t get the full experience, but the fillings we had were tasty and spicy.
As well as having a silent auction of various prizes, the main auction itself took place later on in the evening – introduced by none other than footballer-turned-pundit-turned-Walkers-Crisps-guy Gary Lineker. To be honest, I did have to pop out during the auction as it got a bit crowded and overwhelming, but watched from outside while we grabbed ourselves a couple of G&Ts.
Another fundraising opportunity came in the form of ‘restaurant roulette’ – for £50, you could have a spin on the roulette wheel for the chance to win dinners and experiences at a whole host of London restaurants.
In total, Auction Against Hunger raised an amazing £218k to continue Action Against Hunger’s great work. Aside from the ridiculous queues at some of the vendors’ stalls, it was definitely a fun event to head along to and definitely worth the £60 ticket price for the amount of food and drink on offer. It was a fab chance to check out some of London’s top restaurants, and chat to some people involved/generally interested in the London food and drink scene.
Plus, it really is a fantastic cause – the work Action Against Hunger do is really important, really making a difference in the lives of children across the world. Definitely need to do some saving up for next year’s auction!
*I was kindly given a complimentary pair of tickets to the event – but also made my own charity contribution on the night (couldn’t quite afford that private dinner with Gazza Lineker, mind you)