Crocodile, Wild Boar and Shark - Just a Few of the Meats You Can Get at Wild at Spirit
Colchester Town is growing by the day and wherever you turn, there’s a new restaurant or cafe appearing. This may annoy some people (we hate negativity!), but we love it as it means there’s more foodie delights on offer! Wild At Spirit has been down Eld Lane for a few years now and if you haven’t visited yet, you MUST!
As well as the cafe in town, Wild At Spirit also have a catering van that they take to food festivals, parties and even weddings. At food festival, you’re most likely to come across owner, Luke, and his famous slider board, which have been proven to be super popular. If you would like to hire Wild At Spirit for a private party, you will be able to consult with Luke and come up with a package that is suitable for you and your guests.
Not only is the food amazing, the building has a really interesting history too. Luke has some regular customers in the cafe and one of those is part of said history. He told Luke who it was once a fishmongers on one side and a shoemakers on the other side, and he brought in a picture of himself when he was 16 (he’s in his 80’s now!), working as a shoemaker, in his apron, on the righthand side of the building. The shoemakers, The Shepherds Shoemakers, was owned by the gentleman’s grandfather. As time progressed, the gentleman was drafted into the army to be a shoemaker for them and stayed with the army until he was 21, where he was made redundant due to the cost of using leather. It’s amazing visiting local, independent businesses as these stories need to be told. It’s so interesting and Colchester is full of historic tales that we would not know about if it was not for the loyal customers.
Indre and I were lucky enough to be invited along to have a taste of what Luke, loves to eat. I think that was one of the most enjoyable things to come out of our visit. Hearing and seeing the passion Luke has for the produce and just enjoying his own food. Many restaurants have quite generic menus that don’t really tend to change or stay faithful to their own brand. Luke has got it spot on at Wild At Spirit. He sources food and cooks meals that he loves to eat - that way he knows his customers will love it too.
Wild At Spirit is unique in terms of being one of the only places in Colchester where you can have exotic meat cooked for you. I realise the thought of this is not appealing to some people, and if I’m honest, I was a bit dubious when Luke mentioned shark. But, being a huge foodie, Luke assured us that all of the meat he sources is ethical and nothing is endangered - specifically, the veal and the shark. I believe this is an important thing to remember as it’s always good to try new meats and textures.
When we arrived at Wild At Spirit, I think we were both expecting a tasty plate of food, but what we got was so much more. The ‘everyday’ menu in itself sounds delicious and you’re guaranteed to get something different. But we were extremely lucky to try some new meat burgers Luke has created. I’m the first to admit that I’m not the biggest burger fan. I wouldn’t often order one if I went out for dinner as I always find that the meat is overcooked and the texture is dry. But these ones were totally different to what either of us had eaten before. We got to try three of his special burgers, and we both had a different favourite. As everything with Wild At Spirit, the burgers are homemade to get maximum flavour into the meat. The different meats really shone on the plate and we both demolished them!
The first one was made up of Rose Veal, with griddled courgettes, a parma ham crisp and marinara sauce in a homemade brioche bun. This without a doubt was my personal favourite! The veal was so flavoursome and moist. The accompaniments complemented the meat perfectly and the best thing about it was that it wasn’t stodgy. It was a light meal, even with the brioche bun. Which, by the way, are totally amazing and hats off to everyone at the cafe who has a hand in making such a tricky thing everyday! The second one in the line up was a mouflon burger. Mouflon is a wild sheep and has a very distinctive flavour. There’s a hint of blue cheese in the meat, even though none is added! So the saltiness really comes through but is not overpowering. This burger came with a chorizo mayo (OH MY GOD - INCREDIBLE) and crispy onions. I love lamb, so I knew I would enjoy this one. The chorizo mayo made it for me though. So tasty and it was great to see something different on there. I know this one was Indre’s favourite so I think when we go back we’ll be getting one of each! Lastly, we had a beef burger with smokey bacon jam. That’s right, smokey bacon jam. It tasted even better than it sounds! It was cooked perfectly and still held some moisture, making it really juicy.
I don’t think I can quite get over how good the burgers were. I can still taste them now and I desperately want to take my partner there as I know he would love the unusual meats. Luke’s passion is evident in the food he produces and speaks about. It’s admirable and a joy to see. Wild At Spirit is also very respectful of dietary requirements. Luke is a former Slimming World member and knows how tricky it can be to eat out sometimes. Due to this, Luke will be able to adjust his meals to make them slimming world friendly, ensuring you will be able to eat out on plan and have a tastier meal than you could probably cook at home! As well as this, some of the ice creams you can get are vegan, and you can’t tell the difference. I tried the dark chocolate one before knowing this and adored it. I couldn’t believe it when Luke told me it was a vegan one! With the culinary world evolving as it is, it’s so important to have somewhere to go that caters for various needs and Wild At Spirit definitely does this.
Indre and I had such an interesting morning with Luke and I can’t wait to go back. Make sure you pay Luke and his team a visit soon!