Eating Out: 2 North Street Food is a place full of promise
2 North Street Food
51 Clooney Terrace
I TELL you what – street food has changed a bit, hasn't it? Time was, it used to mean walking up to the ground for the match, and a smell of dying onions clogging the air.
There'd be some bloke who 200 years ago would have been a grave-robber. He'd have a ciggy in his mouth and would be wearing a life-stained, once-white coat and a flat cap made of grease, and would be dredging up E.coli burgers from the depths of the kind of handcart you send things to Hell in. I'm sure people only bought them in the hope of developing food poisoning before Everton kicked off.
Now, though, it's all chimichanga this and jackfruit that, and if you don't eat a bao bun twice a week you might as well buy a one-way ticket to Loserville. It is very much the in thing.
In the case of 2 North Street Food, it is literally the in thing. Because their street food isn't even on the street. It's indoors.
The two brothers and one partner who run the place tried and failed to get a license for a street food van in Derry, so they decided to keep the concept and set up instead in a permanent location at…
Now, you'd expect it to be in North Street, wouldn't you? At number 2, if you were forced to guess. But you'd be wrong. It's on Clooney Terrace. The street bit in the name belongs with the food. The 2 North is, well, probably best left to them to explain.
2 North Street Food is new, and it feels like it. Everything is bright and shiny and not yet lived-in. There are pressed wood boards on the walls and doors on trestles for tables and travel books everywhere, travel being a theme in the restaurant. There's a sense of drive and enthusiasm and eagerness to please about the place.
Four of us went there one Thursday evening. We were there early, as we all had places to go on to, and, for a little while we were the only ones there. Custom picked up, though, and a nice buzz quickly developed.
The menu is brief, but there's a decent variety of dishes there, and it attempts to pick up on the travel theme begun by all the guide books on display. I'm not sure this is completely successful, but it shows a real effort to offer things you are pleasantly surprised to find, and definitely tempted to try.
First off, the Backpacker steak burger. The burger itself was thick and meaty, well-seasoned and full of flavour. A touch dry, maybe, but that was compensated by the juicy tomato and the lovely, sharp gherkin. It also came with a fried egg and pineapple. Each worked nicely with the burger, but not, I think, with each other. And although the menu said it would be served on flatbread, it actually came in a barmcake.
It wasn't disappointing, but it was certainly surpassed by the other dishes. We all liked the croquetas. Crisp on the outside and deliciously creamy in the middle, these were very good, although they'd maybe work better as a side dish, especially as the fish that was mixed with the filling was a little hard to detect.
And they didn't quite work with the flatbread, although that was very tasty in its own right.
The two best dishes were the kottu roti and the North'n Soul rib. The roti is a Sri Lankan dish. The very smell of it as it came to the table set the taste buds on high alert. Spicy, light, full of contrasting textures, this is made of finely chopped vegetables mixed with egg and diced flatbread. It was really good, and perfect with the chargrilled chicken thighs.
The rib and chicken thighs were also terrific. Beautifully moist, tender meat smothered in a thick, rich sauce.
While not everything works, this is a place full of promise – potentially a cracking neighbourhood diner, perfect for the start of a good night out. Street food has come a long way, and 2 North takes it a little bit further.
Braised rib and chicken thighs £7.50
Backpacker steak burger £6.50
Spanish croquetas £5.50
Kottu Roti £7.50
North'n fries £2.50
San Pellegrino x 3 £3.75
Diet Coke £1