Try street food from around the world at this pop-up on Suffolk coast
- Credit: Archant
The Box at Southwold is taking diners on a global adventure with its weekly takeaways, offering hand-pressed tacos, tagine, bun xao and more.
“This is the busiest I’ve been in years – I’ve only had five days off since last October,” laughs Andy Storer who owns and runs The Black Dog Deli in Walberswick alongside business partner Michael Anfilogoff.
As well as amusing followers on social media with their Instagram antics, the duo have played a vital role in keeping the residents of north Suffolk fed during lockdown, supplying ready meals and essential ingredients both inside and beyond the seaside hamlet.
“Me and Michael sat down right at the beginning of lockdown,” Andy says. “My wife is from Italy and I knew there that coffee shops and delis had closed so we thought we’d either be closed down or it would go crazy and we’d be busy. We started to make extra ready meals and we’ve been inundated since. We’re so lucky to be in this position. And to think, the business has grown from just me and my wife, to me having eight members of staff!”
Both Andy and Michael are creative types, never content with resting on their laurels. Michael, a baking specialist with time under his belt at Two Magpies fills the deli with the scent of cakes, while Andy previously held a coveted head chef for Michel Roux in London for five years.
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Pooling together their experience, this summer in addition to hampers, picnic boxes, ready meals, salads and more at the deli, the duo have taken on The Box at Southwold on Friday nights where, from 12noon to 8pm they dish up some of the finest street food in the county.
From hand-pressed tacos, to slow-cooked shawarma and headily spiced tandoori, it’s their intention to take diners around the world, stopping at the new destination every week.
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Meals (all takeaway) are on a first-come, first-served basis, priced at an average of £9.95, and have been so successful they’ve introduced the concept to the Walberswick deli too, every Wednesday evening from 5.30pm.
“The response,” Andy says, “has been absolutely fantastic. We change the menu every single week and we’re always trying to think of new ideas. The first one was Morocco. We had slow-cooked tagine and we did zaalouk, which is a bit like parmagiana with tomatoes and aubergines in an arabiatta sauce. The homemade tacos have been really cool. We have our own little taco press and it takes a whole day to make them but they’re a real crowd-pleaser. We’ve put Mexican pulled pork in them, and we did local crab with lime and chilli mayonnaise, and a sweet potato and pepper stew.”
Andy’s favourite week so far, though, has been their trip to Vietnam. “We made bun xoa. That’s chilled noodles with a little pickled salad on top and you could pick sesame and honey glazed pork, prawns or braised bok choi. They were finished with a nice dressing of fish sauce, sugar and chilli with ginger and lemongrass. Slightly spicy but so refreshing.”
Cold soft drinks are available from both locations too, as are desserts, also changing each week, but with one mainstay – Portuguese custard tarts, raves Andy. “We have a lady who makes them for us every single week. They are one of the most amazing pastel de nata you’ve ever had. She trained at the monastery in Lisbon that’s famous for them and got to the grand finals for the best natas in the UK. They are so good and they’re still warm when we get them!”
All-local ingredients where possible are used to create the street food plates. “One week we decided we purely wanted to celebrate the east Coast,” Andy adds. “We cooked up Blythburgh ham with a honey glaze, carved to order, and made Cromer crab rillettes which we put back into the shells. Then, for the vegetarians, there was a Bungay brie and caramelised tomato tart. We’re all about shouting about best produce from East Anglia.”
There are plans, as summer winds down, to use The Box in Southwold (which sells Penny Bun Bakehouse bread, cakes and pastries on Saturdays) as a gourmet food shop, showcasing Andy’s handcrafted pasta, gravadlax and more.
“It’s really exciting for us. The business is starting to properly take off and we’re always trying to push it further,” he smiles.
Find The Box at 27 High Street Southwold and Black Dog Deli on the main road into Walberswick village.