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Sommelier Melissa Cole pairs beer with five of London's favourite street food dishes


There are two fundamental conundrums to life: 1) what to have for lunch and 2) what the heck to pair it with. Fortunately for you, we've recruited top beer sommelier and lovely person Melissa Cole to wed this summer's best street food to beer so they can live happily and eternally in gastronomic matrimony. Or, y'know, just so they taste good together. Here's her top picks: 

Soup dumplings from Dumpling Shack

SpiceBox's Summer Veg Coconut and Cashew Korma with... Anspach & Hobday's The Brother Sean Belgian stout

Get food at: Druid Street Market on Saturdays

Closest beer shop: The Bottle Shop, Druid Street

'Druid Street-based brewery Anspach & Hobday has just the answer for this and it's called Brother Sean, an aged imperial Belgian stout. Now,you're going to need some friends as it only comes in 750ml bottles, but it's got lots of malt loaf and a little burnt note that will help balance out the creamy sweetness of the korma. It's quite a special beer for a pretty special dish.'

Braciole sandwich

Capish's Braciole sandwich with... 40ft Brewery's 'Larger'

Get food at: Street Feast Dalston Yard

Get beer at: 40ft's Dalston brewery, Ashwin Street

'This is one of those dishes where you need to remember the mantra 'K.I.S.S.' (keep it simple stupid) and just reach for a really clean pils-style beer. For that I'd look to 40ft Brewery's 'Larger' – no, that's not a typo, it's basically German brewmaster Ben Ott's excellent sense of humour at work. The key here is that it's simple, soft, rounded refreshment that just works as a great foil because it doesn't have the big catty, onion-y flavours that you'd find in a lot of US-inspired beers – very unpleasant against the slow-cooked Genovese sauce.'

The Crispy Baboy

BBQ Dreamz's The Crispy Baboy with... Kernel London Sour

Get food at: KERB King's Cross

Closest bottle shop: BottleDog, Gray's Inn Road

'This calls for another sour one with a bit of fruit in it this time – I'm thinking Kernel London Sour, made with the same stuff that gives yoghurt its signature tang. It's a bit like a very grown up ice lolly with a zip and zing that will help cut through the pork's fat, compliment the pickles, and soothe the glorious saltiness of the chicharron, whilst the bright fruitiness provides a pleasant counterpoint to the whole dish.'

Classic bao

BAO's classic bao with... a can of Camden Hells

Get food at: Netil Market on Saturdays

Closest pub: Mother Kelly's, Well Street

'Another keep it simple pairing for me. A can of Camden Hells ticks the boxes here. You just want that nice, light, herbal/citrus refreshment to ensure your dish isn't overwhelmed at all.'

Short rib plate

Breddo's Short rib plate with... Wild Card's Jack of Clubs 

Get food at: Dinerama

Closest bottle shop: Amathus, Old Street

'A nice transatlantic mash-up is the key here – Wild Card's Jack of Clubs 4.5% traditional bitter on steroids works perfectly. With its drinkability and strong digestive and pumpernickel backbone, over which is draped some dried cherries and a slight pomegranate tang.'

Find out more about beer in Melissa Cole's book Let Me Tell You About Beer: A beginner's guide to all things brewed and her site. Or follow her on Twitter @MelissaCole.

Check out London's best craft beer bars and pubs.

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