On the Friday 6 March, Friday Nite Snackdown took over Wandering Cooks in South Brisbane.
Friday Nite Snackdown is a fight-to-the-tastiest between the street food of two different countries. The winner goes on to compete in the next week’s battle. On this inaugural battle week the fight was Japanese vs Danish – and intriguing fight as Danish food, or Scandinavian cuisine in general, is rather underrepresented in Brisbane. I couldn’t resist.
We arrived soon after 5pm, eager for a drink and many tastes of food. People were already sitting along the long benches enjoying a drink and a bite, and by the time we left after 6, all the seats were full.
How the service works for FNS is inspired by yum cha or German beer halls. You purchase tokens at a cost of $4 each at the bar, along with your drink. You take a seat and waiters bring around trays of food for which you exchange your tokens. All bar two dishes on the menu only cost one token each which is, bluntly put, a bargain.
Our tipples of choice were lemonade and cider (both Australian made and organic) but there was beer and wine on offer as well. The Wandering Cooks space may not be terribly inspiring on its own but it is livened up with all the plants and furnishings, so it is still a pleasant place to sit around and chill out on a Friday night. Around us were mostly couples, a few of larger groups enjoying the evening, and a steady stream of people arriving to try out the latest gig in town.
I love both of these cuisines but I was super-keen to try the Danish side. Seems odd then that we sampled grilled prawn yakitori, pork belly bun with cucumber and ristet hot dog with pickles, onion and remoulade. All three were very tasty and of a decent snack-size for only $4. I particularly enjoyed my mini-hotdog with all the trimmings. Delicious!
The food was prepped and cooked by three chefs – two out the back doing the prep work and one with a couple of BBQs in the front space doing the cooking and prepping the dishes to be taken around. I don’t know why but when I imagined a ‘snackdown’ between two cuisines, I’d pictures two chefs in different spots putting on a bit of a show-fight complete flourishing implements for the reputation of their cuisine.
The only criticism I would make was that the food did not come out quite fast enough or in sufficient supply. Part of that is our fault. My husband doesn’t eat mayonnaise and most of the offerings came out with mayo on them. However, even skipping that, the yum cha style works best if there is plentiful food and it moves quickly. You expect to be fed pretty soon and then slow down, chill out and enjoy the atmosphere and company. I know I wasn’t the only person feeling this, as some of us started stalking the waiters and taking food from the chef as soon as it was prepped.
We only had the three dishes in an hour between us. There wasn’t really anything to do in the meantime except chat and drink, which is all well and good, but you need some food in your belly first.
I enjoyed Friday Nite Snackdown and I’d happily go again and take a group of friends. I’d just want to be sure we grabbed more food quick off the mark.
If you want a chilled out but tasty Friday evening I would recommend Friday Nite Snackdown in South Brisbane. Take some mates and try something new.