Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit more than an afternoon of great music, buzzing atmosphere and festive feasting. This year, Tobacco Dock played host to another round of Taste of London Winter (can we please go back to calling it Taste of Christmas?). The halls were decked with tinsel, Christmas trees lined railings, lights and decorations hung from the rafters, and it was characteristically freezing – an element I would’ve happily sacrificed. Nevertheless, we bundled up and soldiered on, fuelling ourselves on this year’s gastronomic fare.
The Truscott Arms started the afternoon on a delicious note with several winter warming dishes.
This take on colcannon was filled with creamy ragstone and topped with basil oil and fried kale – an edible hug in a bowl.
Moreish bites of crispy pig’s head were served with a sweet apple puree. The meat was really flavourful and paired perfectly with the tart contrast of the applesauce, bites I could happily replace popcorn with whilst watching a film.
Their icon dish was the most tender piece of beef cheek, served swimming in a pool of smoked mash, topped with crispy shallots. Over at The Bandstand, some really talented bands kept the vibe cool as we wiggled our way around the stalls. The Laurent-Perrier Champagne Room was stunningly decorated and filled with minglers slowly sipping their bubbles before braving the cold again.
Over at The Fire Pit, Mike Lecouteur from Mews of Mayfair was barbecuing meat fit for a monster, alongside a creamy bowl of lobster macaroni and cheese. Gordon Ramsey’s Maze played ring around the Big Green Egg, with a wrapping queue of BBQ fiends eager to get their paws on slow cooked BBQ pulled beef on a brisket bun. The perfect combination of sweet and tangy of BBQ sauce and tender beef rested on a fluffy bun ready for a bite, after removing the pickle, of course…
Kurobuta served their famous BBQ pork belly buns with spicy peanut soy sauce, one of my favourite flavour combinations, despite the cold weather getting the best of the chilly bun.
Awesome charity Action Against Hunger teamed up with five star chefs to create 5* kebabs.We opted for Francesco Mazzei’s spicy veal meatballs with Grana Padano and salted padron peppers. Having experienced a feast fit for a queen, it was time I took my place on the throne… I think it rather suits me, don’t you? Winter is coming… and so is hibernation at this rate. The HBO stall even had a gingerbread scale of King’s Landing! I considered attempting my own form of attack by taking out the towers and eating them one by one… but resigned to a hunt for less destructive dessert.
Glistening in the glow of winter light, Club Gascon was serving some winter-themed treats. We went for the oversized black forest macaron, filled with brandy soaked cherries, dark chocolate mousse and chestnut cream.
We watched, mesmerised, as Pan-N-Ice chopped, slathered and rolled ice cream into rolls. This Thai-style method was enticing, but I was too cold to even consider a frozen treat. Sari Cakes hand-decorates each fruit cake inspired by ancient henna creations.
Vicetti’s homemade tarts were beautifully presented, with great flavour combinations. The much loved Meringue Girls hosted Saturday’s dessert bar, but were sold out of the good stuff hours before closing. I really wanted a Nutella Cookiemuff topped with vanilla ice cream and salted hazelnut honeycomb crumble, ya know? Instead, we waddled our way back to Maze for fried doughnuts swimming in a beautifully tart clementine curd.
Taste of London still sits firmly atop my event list. This year saw the least amount of restaurants, but the venue looked beautiful, food was all delicious, atmosphere was amazing, and overall I’d have to give it an A… ^ get it?
I can’t wait to see who turns up to Taste of London 2016! Who’s ready for Christmas?