Photography: Daria Istayeva
Being in my final year of my degree, you'd think that I know the University inside and out. Quite frankly, I don't, in fact I still ask the Eliot receptionists to point the way to seminar room 4. Since the second term is now upon us, I thought it was probably about time I explored the University of Kent campuses. Hence, I decided to make it my mission to search and for once determine what the best food on campus is. But to be clear, I am no food critic, I am a student therefore my criteria will adhere to the needs and expectations of a standard getting-there-adult. I will search for fast, cheap, convenient and delicious food with potentially healthy options (for those days when I really feel like an adult).
As I got off the unibus and made my way to the Jarman Plaza, I locked eyes with my first target, the Street Kitchen. Personally, I had never eaten at this outlet before and I never really knew what kind of cuisine they served. After conducting minor research, I found that Street Kitchen changes up their menu every single week. On this particular day, the theme seemed to be Mexican with the vendor offering three different kinds of burritos; chipotle chicken, beef chili and bean chili, all labeled with a modest 4£ price tag. Alternatively, for the same price, they offered two different types of fries; loco and angry. As shown on the photo, I decided to go for a classic 'chipotle chicken burrito' and my slightly more adventurous, Spanish-speaking friend chose the 'Loco' fries. Topped with tortilla chips and guacamole, our total came to 9£ for the both of us. Safe to say the 'cheap' factor in my well-thought-out criteria received a double tick.
Feel good on-the-go food is the seemingly advertised motto of Street Kitchen, but did the food live up to the slogan? First of all, we received our cardboard food box of joy roughly five minutes after ordering our meals, another tick for quick-ness. However, I would not really call this "on-the-go" food as the nature of the burrito and the fries really demanded a table to avoid a messy rice-on-shirt situation. Luckily, the English weather allowed us on this occasion to enjoy our meal outside on the benches.
So what about the food? My burrito was made up out of seasoned rice and shredded chicken, and I have one word for it "homey". The warm burrito provided a generous portion that ended up satisfying me for the remainders of my working hours and honestly was a 100% worth the 4 quid. The nachos, I must admit in comparison were rather lackluster, and I wish the guacamole had more flavor to it. My friend's fries were filled with copious amount of flavor and spices, and she herself was also very satisfied with the loco portion. A bonus point; a local seagull seemed to be quite pleased with a tiny piece of the burrito it managed to snatch from my leftovers.
Overall, I think Street Kitchen did well on establishing themselves for a student market. The food is quick, cheap and filling. I aim to make my return and explore a different cuisine on a different week so stay tuned for part dos.