NO BONES JONES - West Holt to William’s Green
On Wednesday afternoon I stumbled across Worry Dolls in West Holts. As we talk about my quest, Rosie mentions No Bones Jones. It is the first food vendor recommended to me whilst I am at the festival, and though it pops up in conversation time and again over the course of the weekend, it isn’t until the weekend draws to a close that I finally try their wares.
Combo bowl it is, then. Rice. A chickpea and spinach curry. A red bean curry that seems far more tempting to me. Some vegetable fritters, and cold salad on top.
Why the salad on top? It feels soggy rather than juicy. Damp. Moist. And not in the good way. Not in the cake way. And chilled! The bowl below warms my hands, but I have to trudge through cold salad first.
Below it’s far more fun - the vegetable fritters are very tasty, and lack the grease that swamps Glastonbury’s nearest competitor - the vegetarian tempura round the corner on West Holts.
Though the red bean curry tempted me most on paper (or chalkboard), it’s the spinach and chickpea that engages my tongue. I was promised the best veggie meal onsite, and though in reality it’s my third favourite, that’s still an excellent position at the greatest accidental food festival on the planet.
SUPERSTEW - Leftfield
I’ve avoided traditional breakfasts for the entire festival. It’s seen me escape the standard £5 bacon baguette, but also miss out on Beat Hotel’s acclaimed restaurant-standard meals. It’s been a good trade, though, all in all. Instead of bacon rolls I have eaten kedgeree, tapas and organic veggie goodness. But the final day of the festival means comprimise, and I’m glad to have it.
Superstew’s breakfast menu has been tempting me for a few days. A huge pan sits in their stall with a sizzling fry-up of bacon and onion. The crew throw this on top of a rich tomato and sausage stew, baked beans and - just for good measure - rice. It’s far from the most exciting mix, but it’s ruddy satisfying.
GRILLSTOCK - West Holts
This year’s secret festival fashion, it seems, is onsite meat smoking. Grillstock is the second vendor I find that hides smokers behind their set-up. In fact, when they ran out of pork shoulders, the Grillstock guys found themselves trundling a wheelbarrow across the south-east of the site in order to collect some supplies from their friends at Bar-B-Q Shack.
I grab a simple pulled pork roll - no sauces, no marinades, no salad, no chips. Just hickory-smoked pork. And it’s delicious. I don’t miss the sauces one bit - the meat is juicy and flavoursome enough in its own right.
Grillstock know what they’re doing. This much is clear. Their name comes from the annual festivals that they run in Bristol and Manchester - festivals that feature music, but are more interested in giant BBQ competitions. As such, their debut stall at Glasto benefits from a world of bestowed knowledge, and seems to regularly sell out of their delightful hickory goodness.
CRAYFISH BOB - William’s Green
The newly-named and reimagined William’s Green continues to surprise with some of this year’s most interesting food vendors. There’s La Marmotte, one of the festival’s two raclette dealers, and The Soup Library, which provides customers with a book to read with their minestrone. Sat between them is Crayfish Bob’s, a little shack with a terrfying logo.
Bob himself seems oddly disconnected from the stall as I speak to him. His two chefs, both imported from the America’s cotton states, more than make up for Bob’s own failings. Satisfying Southern drawls and a real passion for the food on sale.
The crawfish boil is not for those who do not like to get messy. But that said neither is Glastonbury. Crawfish are a tricky sort of a food - served in a cardboard tray they look juicy and plentiful, but once de-shelled there’s not enough to really call a meal.
The gumbo, on the other hand, is everything it should be. Warming, filed with both pulled meat and crayfish and, with the staff’s recommended dose of cayenne pepper, just the right level of spicy.
GOAN SEAFOOD COMPANY - West Holts
I’ve been looking forward to the kedgeree since I first got my ticket. At 2012’s End Of The Road festival, I enjoyed Goan Seafood’s breakfast dish on more occasions than I actually ate breakfast.
It’s perhaps a little less flavoursome than normal this time round, but as ever the staff have left out the spicy green sauce reserved for lunch and dinner. A healthy splodge of that on the side of the bowl, then mixed in with your fork, and the best breakfast at Glastonbury is yours for the taking.
STRUMPETS WITH CRUMPETS - Williams’ Green
From a little red van at the edge of William’s Green, young women sell topped crumpets whilst wearing the sort of clunky Moulin Rouge inspired corsets that more often than not defy sexual-objectification.
Savoury and sweet crumpets are on offer. The menu tantalisingly promises a Roast Dinner crumpet, available only after 1pm on Sunday. But it’s late on Saturday night, so I choose the Bloody Mary instead. Oozing cheese sits happily between vibrant red pesto and tabasco and Worcestershire sauces. It proves one of the festival’s msot memorable flavours so far, and a night later I almost break my ‘no repeat visits’ rule to enjoy another.
I follow the Bloody Mary with a sweeter selection - chocolate spread, banana and crushed honeycomb pieces. It’s all relatively simple here - and little appears to be made onsite. Certainly the crumpets themselves are, rather disappointingly, pre-packaged. But the flavours play wonders, and make for a perfect late night snack.
MEATLIQUOR - The Diner, Shangri-La
MEATLiquor, the pop-up burger joint from London, turn up for just one afternoon on Saturday. More meat than liquor in this particular situation, by the time I rock up, five hours after they open, all that remain on the menu is their famous Dead Hippie burger and fries. You pay separately for each, which means anything resembling an actual meal costs a full tenner.
The burger is wonderfully juicy, but as flavours go it doesn’t present anything better than Dirty Burger, who’ve been knocking out meals like this (at simliar prices) all weekend. The fries taste just like the ones in McDonalds, which may or not be a compliment, depending on preferences.
LYNDA’S LOAF - Greenpeace Field
Lynda isn’t here today. But her son, Jake, talks cheerfully to me about the store, which sits happily at the end of the Greenpeace Farmer’s Market. Everything is made fresh here, and Jake seems to have a near militant approach to making bread - he has no time for store-brought breads or poorly planned flavours.
The foccacia comes laced with a perfectly pitched pesto, which is then hidden away deep beneath a thick layer of melted cheese. Jake claims that I won’t be able to finish it, and seems genuinely surprised when I wolf it down and come back to enjoy some cake. I can see where he’s coming from though. It’s a large chunk of bread, and there’s almost an inch of cheese living on top of it. But the bread is so fresh that it goes down a treat - the pesto lightening the mood. Jake claimed I couldn’t finish it, but the flavours made it so irresistable I was done in a matter of minutes.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that there is only one way in which ‘moist’ can be considered appealing. Lynda’s Loaf offers cake by Jake, and the chocolate one is shimmering in the midday sun. Rich and moorish, it would best be served in some form of anti-gravity chamber; everything it touchs becomes warm and chocolatey. Fingers can be licked. Napkins not so much.
If you cannot handle another greasy burger or massive pile of meat you could do a lot worse than Lynda’s Loaf.
PLATTERS OF TAPAS - West Holts
There’s an old joke, made famous by Woody Allen in Annie Hall. It carries across readily to the Platters of Tapas breakfasts. The food is terrible – and such small portions.
To describe a breakfast as featuring chorizo, and then provide only three small seafood-stick size chunks – all of which were burnt to a black crisp – is both inaccurate and cruel. The patatas bravas lacked any of their defining seasoning. The bread existed purely to hide all manner of stingy sins. For breakfast today I asked for a tapas-inspired morning meal. I received burnt meat and some bland potatoes.