AS a way of cooking, street food is as old as the hills, or as the volcanoes at least: excavations at Pompeii unearthed (unashed?) a rich variety of such vendors. In recent years the trend for such tastes has really started to explode – in December last year, one vendor in Bangkok was even awarded street food’s first Michelin star.

In Salisbury, street food is slowly making its way onto the city’s menu. There’s the excellent Café Diwali on Crane Street which specialises in Indian street food. Next month, the market square will play host to Street Food Sunday on July 29, showcasing the best in street food from across the South West. But perhaps the most interesting project is that of The Arch, a new street food site that can be found, as the name suggests, nestled in the railway arch on the road between Waitrose and Central car park.

The Arch is the brainchild of Brian Parsons and his son Finley. For Brian, who describes himself as a ‘Heathatonian’, it is a labour of love that has long been in the planning. Back when he was growing up, he and his friends used to cycle round Salisbury looking for somewhere to ride their BMXs. This particular arch, then a patch of waste ground, seemed perfect. They saved up to buy themselves a half-pipe, only to turn up one day to discover that it had been smashed to pieces by the authorities.

Brian has long wanted to do something with the land, and after a long campaign, persuaded Network Rail to give him the lease to set up a street food business there. By this point, the land under the arch was both overrun with brambles and the detritus of other visitors: while developing the site, Brian estimates he collected between fifty and a hundred used needles – evidence of the darker side of Salisbury that, sadly, lurks quietly in the shadows.

The aim of The Arch is to offer a rotating variety of street foods from the site’s gleaming silver Airstream kitchen caravan. For the first month, it has been offering a succulent selection of vegan dishes: next up, they’re going to turn their hand to Tex Mex. The site remains a work in progress but it’s a space with a lot of potential, as an estate agent would say. Brian has plans to have two stalls at either end of the site – a ‘heaven and hell’ double offering of food that’s either good or bad for you.

Bringing street food to Salisbury is an ambitious project, but if The Arch succeeds, it will add a different flavour to the city’s culinary offering.

For details on The Arch visit @bridge233 on Facebook