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Crowds at opening of Maidstone Food Hall at Lockmeadow


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A new £467,000 food hall has opened, featuring eight independent outlets.

The public were queuing outside for the doors to open at 7pm at Lovefood@Lockmeadow in Maidstone.

Council leader Cllr David Burton (Con)

Earlier the Mayor of Maidstone had cut a ribbon to mark the official opening of the food hall at a reception attended by councillors, businessmen, members of the council's focus groups who had helped shape the development of the project, and those involved in its design and construction.

The food hall, the brainchild of Maidstone council, contains eight outlets - seven offering a range of meals from Caribbean to Thai street food, and the eighth - the Moondance Bar - offering cocktails as well as sharing plates and tapas dishes.

The Mayor Cllr Fay Gooch said: "I'm so impressed by the quality and the variety of food on offer - and its all locally sourced, all Kent-based food."

Council leader David Burton declared: "What a fantastic place to come and visit."

Michelle Ayling, who runs Total Jerk Ltd, said: "I'm a bit nervous with its being the first night, but everything's going well."

The Mayor Fay Gooch welcomes people to LoveFood@Lockmeadow
The Mayor Fay Gooch welcomes people to LoveFood@Lockmeadow
The Mayor Fay Gooch and her consort Peter Gooch visits Street Food by Easydine at the food hall
The Mayor Fay Gooch and her consort Peter Gooch visits Street Food by Easydine at the food hall
The Flour Power unit at the opening of the Maidstone Food Hall
The Flour Power unit at the opening of the Maidstone Food Hall

The food hall, which has communal seating area for patrons, is decorated with a number of large portraits of local people, who have been involved in catering in the county town for a number of years.

Lucy Crampton, who is currently a waitress at Frederic's in the Market Buildings, and was previously at Pizza Express, has been in the trade for 23 years. She posed next to a portrait of herself.

The portraits were painted by Medway-based artist Sam Collins.

Cllr Margaret Rose was visiting with her sister Linda Wylie. She said: "It's brilliant. There's such a variety of dishes on offer."

Total Jerk offers Caribbean Food. The business is already familiar to many foodies in Maidstone from its history as a pop-up restaurant at local events such as the Vicars Party in Yalding.

Michelle Ayling of Totally Jerk
Michelle Ayling of Totally Jerk
Darren Reid and Heil Freyer of Mr Big's
Darren Reid and Heil Freyer of Mr Big's
Chattima Blakely, the owner of Aroi Dee
Chattima Blakely, the owner of Aroi Dee

Mr Bigs, run by Darren Reid and Hein Freyer, offers State-side street food in the form of gourmet smoked sausage, hot dogs and stone-baked pizzas.

Aroi Dee serves Thai street food. It is run by restaurateur Chattima Blakely, who also owns the Thai Orchid just a few hundred yards away. It offers tasty stir fry and noodle dishes.

The Flour Power, run by Daisy-Mae Douglas, sells cakes, protein bars, flapjacks, keto milkshakes, sourdough and coffees.

Notorious BRG, run by Jonny Wall, brings the taste of the Brooklyn East Coast to Lockmeadow, with deluxe burgers - with meat and vegan options - stacked fries and mac 'n' cheese.

Street Food by Easy Dine is run by Sadith Fernando and Seila Merino. It offers a large range of vegetarian and vegan foods, with rice dishes, wraps and bao buns. Its speciality is Sri Lankan beef curry.

Dayzee Potter at Moondance
Dayzee Potter at Moondance
Jonny Wall of Notorious BRG
Jonny Wall of Notorious BRG
Cllr Margaret Rose (right) With her sister Linda Wylie at the opening
Cllr Margaret Rose (right) With her sister Linda Wylie at the opening

Cllr Martin Round

Funky Feast, run by Eric Allangba, offers health food fusions from the Middle East, Mediterranean and Asia with meals such as rose harissa marinated tuna with cassava mash, plantain and superfood salad, and oriental vegetable fricassee with sesame marinated sirloin.

Meanwhile the Moondance Cocktail Bar run by Dayzee Potter offers the perfect drink for either an aperitif or digestif to round off your meal, or as an accompaniment to its own paella arancina with homemade alioli.

Cllr Martin Round promised: "This is only the start of things the council has in mind for Maidstone.

"There are many more improvements in the pipeline."

The food hall businesses can open between 9am and 11pm, but they are each likely to chose their own hours.

Eric Allangba of Funky Feast
Eric Allangba of Funky Feast

A Maidstone council spokesman said we expect the core opening for most businesses will be between 12noon and 11pm.

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