Flat White is most commonly known and loved for its amazing coffees, and artisan bagels, sandwiches and baked goodies. However it recently hosted a pop up Asian street food event in the evening on Sunday 1st March, with Trial Shift; the brainchild of two top chefs, Tom Anglesea and Shaun Hurrell. Trial Shift’s mission is holding fun, informal events across the Northeast, emphasising a shared eating experience through communal dining.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to try the Thai Satay Wraps as they had sold like hotcakes, but I have to say, the Korean Fried Chicken was absolutely divine – crispy chicken wings, smothered in a deliciously tangy sauce. It was definitely a welcome treat after being accustomed to the grub you would normally find at one of Durham’s various post-night out food spots. The food was also incredibly well priced for the standard that it was at, with prices ranging from £2 – £4 for generous portions of yummy goodness. The atmosphere was casual and friendly, and it was great to see Flat White in an evening setting.
Both Tom and Shaun were incredibly busy throughout the evening as orders came flooding in, but I managed to get a quick word with them:
Hi! So can you tell me a little more about a bit more about yourselves, and what you’re doing tonight?
Tom: “We’ve been working in some great places all around the world for the last ten years. At the moment, we’re trying to set up our own restaurant in Newcastle, so we’re currently looking for some investment and funding. We are trying to create a name for ourselves, so we’re doing pop up street food events like tonight’s event, and on Wednesday we’re doing a ten-course dinner up at the Garden House Inn. We’re also going up to Ouseburn to do some vegetable-themed nights for two days, using local produce. So we’re just doing bit and bobs at the moment, but eventually we’d love to open a casual, fast-paced restaurant in Newcastle based on sharing food!”
Where did you get the Asian influences for the street food tonight?
Tom: “I used to work in a restaurant called Rockpool in Sydney, Australia, which was very Asian-influenced, and then I worked at a modern Chinese restaurant called Spice Temple. We’ve just really discovered lots of Asian food over the past few years after eating a lot of different Asian dishes! A lot of our friends are from Australia and Philippines, and we love the flavours – we find them very interesting. There’s also a guy called Andy Ricker who has two places in New York, and does really great, authentic Thai food.”
Shaun: “His food is more like the food you’d get from Chiang Mai, so more Northern Thai stuff. Not really like your classic curries, a lot more grilled food. It’s really interesting to try that kind of food when you’re more used to Southern Thai food that you get over here.”
Tom: “But we’d love to get more interest from Durham students, so hopefully there will be more events like this in the future!”
So watch this space! I’d highly recommend coming along to the next event for a fun, relaxed dining experience in one of Durham’s best independent cafés, I’ve heard it may be Mexican-themed…
Photograph: Suzanne Lau