This year Taste of London returned to Regent’s Park for its 10th annual event.
To celebrate the benchmark, I decided to join in on the feasting for two days in a row!
Greedy, I know.
But this meant two days of dishes to taste and two days of pictures to share with you!For the first time in all my Taste experiences, wellies, hoodies and umbrellas were not required to trudge through a muddy battlefield of feasters. The sun teasingly shone in bursts through the clouds and the grass of Regent’s Park was nice and dry.
I entered Taste of London to find a sea of already overstuffed bodies resembling the bean bags they lounged upon. Each year Tasters stock up on crowns and try to taste as many dishes as possible in the mere four hour slot.
Off to the left, a royal blue sign post signified the entrance to the Taste of Thai section. It had a great turn out this year filled with great Thai restaurants and stands giving away samples of exotic foods. I tried crackers, curries and coconut waters straight from Thailand and even spotted Blue Elephant.
The market marquee was buzzing with people swarming the rows of companies selling and sampling their snacks and products. Each had creative stands and goodies on display, all of which were so tempting that I couldn’t help but tuck into my fair share of samples.
Having thoroughly enjoyed my starter of samples and purchased some Ganache Macarons to indulge in later, it was time to move on to bigger and better things.
Gordon Ramsey’s Maze was surrounded by people responding to shouts of Bang Bang Chicken.
The wrap looked invitingly easy to eat and with a name like Bang Bang Spicy Chicken Hand Roll, I had to give it a try. Although it was strange to have chicken in a hand roll where traditionally fish would be present, the flavours worked surprisingly well and it was quite good overall.
Ahhh, the always attractive burger bite.
More wandering lead to New York’s Graffiti stall, creatively covered with well…graffiti. Here I tried a pork belly bun with red onion and a sour chutney.
It was different to any bun I’ve ever tried, but had an interesting flavour combination. I soon spotted Bar Boulud and had lovely flashbacks to the previous year’s Taste of London dish which resulted in our eventual dining in the restaurant.
An order of the BBQ pulled pork slider with smoked pork shoulder, red cabbage slaw, homemade BBQ sauce and jalapeño mayonnaise had me smiling from ear to ear with BBQ sauce dripping down my chin.
Another winning dish from BB.
Benares’ fennel infused lamb chop with mint chutney was an incredible flavour combination, which really complimented the meat.
Although there was a long wait, the few bites of chicken did have a great smokey, salty flavour and left me wanting more.
I then found L’autre Pied, and on display next to a stunning shell filled with ceviche of hand dived scallops with black quinoa, creme fraiche, radishes, fennel & dill was a shiny gold trophy.
Their ceviche had won the first place Taste Award and there was no way I was going to miss an opportunity to try this winning dish.
The scallops were beautiful and I loved the crunch in each bite from the black quinoa. It was very fresh and I did enjoy it, but I felt it could’ve used a kick of acidity to really enhance the flavour combination.
Around the corner, I found another beautifully displayed dish at Club Gascon.
A bowl of gleaming oyster pearls topped with pine smoked lovehearts easily caught my eye.
Upon trying the dish, I discovered that lovehearts are indeed duck hearts, which had a smokey, earthy flavour from being grilled on a skewer of pine needles. The oyster pearls were made from tapioca mixed with onion and parsley. It was very interesting and overall I enjoyed the flavours, although it was not something I would typically order.
In a large canopy near the event’s entrance, Ping Pong had a dim sum demonstration. Foodies eagerly followed the Chef’s movements to create their very own dumpling. We soon became hungry from watching the dumplings demo, and to our delight, discovered that behind the demonstration steaming hot buns were being sold for only £1!
We quickly snatched up a pork bun each, slathered in spicy chili sauce. These were absolutely divine.
Warm, spicy comfort food that sticks to your ribs with incredible flavour that definitely had a lasting crave-worthy effect as I spent the rest of the night considering going back for more. On my way around the stalls, I was handed a miniature can of something sweet.
Easily drawn in by miniature bottles, I gladly accepted and gave it a try.
It was a sweet, fizzy lemonade drink, which to my amusement was named Ting!
(Carribean accent) Look mon, it’s Ting n’ Ting!
A firey wood burning oven drew us towards the Rossopomodoro stand.
Italian men were shouting and laughing handing out slices of pizza, all of which were snatched up by greedy hands within seconds of its immersion from the oven.
Sweet, chewy dough topped with tangy tomato sauce, melty mozzarella and a peppery bite of basil transported me back to dinner by the seaside in Italy. Heading over to Duck & Waffle, I finally got to meet Chefs Daniel Doherty & Tom Cenci. One being the duck, the other being the waffle, their culinary skills are a constant pleasure to enjoy. The thing about D&W that I most enjoy, is the constant element of surprise in their varying dishes. There’s no set cuisine, which results in something to please anyone’s palate.
Trying the smoked haddock chowder, with slow poached hens egg, and curried puffed rice I thought, how strange.
But I loved it.
Two of the best reactions when it comes to dining, in my opinion.
Duck & Waffle’s spicy ox cheek doughnut with served apricot jam did not fail to please either.
Hot, soft doughnut coated in a spicy sugar filled with tender, rich ox cheek was comfort food heaven.
The apricot jam adds a tart kick to marry the flavours to one another.
Try not to smile on a bad day after tackling this mouthful.
Next door, D&W’s sister restaurant Sushi Samba was serving some stunningly presented dishes.
We plumped for the Wagyu Nigiri ponzu with foie gras and shavings of Peruvian chocolate.
It was a simple bite of quality Wagyu with a hint of sweetness from the flakes of chocolate. I could’ve done without the clump of rice, but I would still happily have this again.
Another Chef groupie moment then occured.
I spotted Michel Roux Jr. across the room and swept over beside him within seconds.
He was very friendly and incredibly patient with all the fans wanting to take photos and get signatures.
I decided to have a picture snapped to add to the collection, but was overall elated with the chance to meet such a culinary legend. After more stall wandering, it was time to subside the sweet tooth.
Gordon Ramsey’s Maze not only has a custom ice cream machine, it pumps out creamy red velvet ice cream!
The “Red Whippy” red velvet ice cream comes out hot pink, is swirled into a waffle cone and topped with crumbs of red velvet cake and white chocolate.
I had spotted something a Sushi Samba earlier that piqued my interest.
Chocolate chili peppers with Peruvian chili mousse, a red pepper tuile, raspberry & red pepper sorbet and chocolate crumble was nothing like I’ve ever had before.
A bite of the sorbet flooded my mouth with flavours of a red bell pepper. Although I thought it was initially strange to have a vegetable flavoured sorbet served with dessert, when eaten with the chocolate crumble and spicy chili mousse, the flavours mixed incredibly well and left a fruity, spicy aftertaste. As time was running out, we decided on a final dessert to try.
Alyn Williams at the Westbury had a Caramelised white chocolate pannacotta with passion fruit foam and pieces of honeycomb. This again, was a strange, but successful flavour combination. The passion fruit foam had such vibrant flavouring that it brought out the sweetness of the pannacotta and honeycomb. London was a real babe over the two days I attended Taste of London Not a drop of rain on this year’s feasting and everyone smiled through the sun & fun of the days’ festivities. I loved every minute of my two days at Taste of London and am looking forward to next year’s event.
And as you can see, this year I really got my fork stuck in!