Taste of London 2014

I love Taste of London.
Oh, you knew that already? Oh! You read last year’s post? And the year before?!
I’m flattered, really. This also means I don’t have to go on and on about Taste of London being a food-filled hotspot of delectable dishes showcasing restaurants, chef demonstrations, little local products and pop up champagne bars. I can just show you this year’s offerings and get down to the food porn.

But first, get a snack. You’ll thank me later.

Meeting up with my friend, the lovely Parissima, we chattered away as we entered Regent’s Park on a gloriously sunny day.

It seems that the drinks offering grows more and more each year. With tents blasting sweet tunes and serving endless libations, flocks of those more interested in Taste’s liquid offerings wiggled around the bar. As the evening progresses, the dancing becomes more and more spectacular, with particularly amazing entertainment provided by the silent disco and main stage.

Taste of London 2014Nightclub royalty, Mahiki, had a fantastic pop up coconut bar, which proved to be very popular serving their piña colada filled pineapples. The perfect accompaniment to sunshine. Taste of London 2014Ready to eat, we first popped over to Maida Vale sweetheart known for ‘not your average pub food’, The Truscott Arms. Taste of London 2014 Here we tried a delicious dish of slow roasted pork belly with pink grapefruit puree, braised chicory and buttered spinach. Taste of London 2014Enticed by wafting spices, we joined a small queue to sample a little Korean lettuce wrap. This was to showcase a new Korean sauce company, which I can’t remember the name of. If anyone tried this and knows the name, please leave it in the comments so I can update this as it was damn good! Taste of London 2014Amongst the stands serving local products, Noisette Bakehouse caught our eye. How beautiful are these tea cakes? Taste of London 2014As pretty as these were, there was something calling to me.
Alessandraaaaa eatttt meeee 
Taste of London 2014

Monstrous slabs of salted caramel brownie had me at hello and ended in my stomach. A couple of these were purchased to bring home and it’s safe to say they didn’t all make it back in one piece.

Passing the Chef Stage at the Electrolux theatre, we momentarily watched the lovely and incredibly talented Michel Roux Jr preparing one of his famous dishes. However, we were soon distracted by some samples elsewhere.  Taste of London 2014But, I made sure I snuck back later to say hello to the food icon, who is every bit as lovely as he looks.Taste of London 2014Taste of London 2014Pizza place Rossopomodoro had quite a crowd, all eagerly watching as the hot pizzas came out of the fire. The poor girl serving them was attacked by greedy foodies, leaving the box empty within seconds each time.

Just look at the carnage! Some pretty eager faces there if you ask me. Taste of London 2014 He didn’t seem to mind. Taste of London 2014We then wandered over to the cool corner of the event. Sister restaurants Sushi Samba and Duck & Waffle had pop up bars, surrounded by bean bags for those looking to lounge in the sun with a cocktail. Their restaurant counterparts were serving up delicious dishes nearby.

The lovely Chef Tom Cenci of Duck & Waffle had us try fried chicken necks with lemon, chilli and garlic.
Taste of London 2014This was accompanied by their famous BBQ spiced crispy pigs ears, also lovingly referred to as crack. Taste of London 2014Taste of London 2014Jealous of Tom’s picture, Executive Chef Daniel Doherty insisted he have his photo taken, too. Taste of London 2014Taste of London 2014

From Sushi Samba, we tried the surprisingly stunning Sasa roll with shrimp tempura, quinoa, shisito, coriander, wagyu chorizo, spicy mayo and red onion, which was inspired by Sushi Samba owner himself.

Taste of London 2014

Their other dishes looked equally appetising, with great presentation.Taste of London 2014

Taste of London 2014ROKA, one of my favourite contemporary Japanese places in London, had an incredible display of lamb chops and baby chicken being grilled.  Taste of London 2014

Taste of London 2014 Instantly in love with this perky looking piñata, I used my smoothest Spanish skills to try and sweet talk the Mexican tourism board into letting Paris take him home with her. No tuve éxito. 
Taste of London 2014

Enamoured with the flowering tea display, we watched as the balls of tea flowers blossomed when submerged in boiling water. This stand happens to be hosted by a guy who’s spiked hair looks as if he’s wearing a flowering tea ball himself.
Taste of London 2014
We were told that these make unique gifts and can continue to be used on display in your home, after drinking the tea. Talk about multi-tasking. Taste of London 2014

We continued to graze our way through the tents, sampling oils, meats, cheese and sweets.

Taste of London 2014Taste of London 2014

Being French, Paris couldn’t resist a big chunk of cheese to take with her, served by this lovely lady who was a bit camera shy.
Taste of London 2014Taste of London 2014 Taste of London 2014Ready for more proper plates, we visited contemporary Italian restaurant L’ANIMATaste of London 2014Here we tried burrata, pappa al pomodoro and anchovies. A stunningly simple combination of classic Italian flavours.

Hanging up our savoury hats, it was time for a sweet mission.

Taste of London 2014Having previously spotted macaron on the menu, we headed for Duck & Waffle’s graffiti styled tent. 
Taste of London 2014
A mound of dark chocolate mouse with a pistachio macaron hat, griottine cherries and crystallised white chocolate made for one helluva mouthful. Or two. Or five. (sorry Paris)  Taste of London 2014Next door, we spotted Valrhona chocolate ganache and knew what was next. Sushi Samba were serving a bamboo boat of Valrhona dark chocolate ganche, coffee mousse, tonka bean ice cream, caramelised macadamia nuts topped with lemon sorrel. Absolutely divine.

At some point during our venture, we spied a delicious looking creation, the details of which we only knew contained peanut butter. Sold on this minor detail, we searched endlessly to finish our feasting with what we believed would be the best. Although we were both stuffed to the brim, we continued our hunt through the maze of stands.

By the time we found it, overexcited as we may be, we discovered we didn’t have enough crowns left. Explaining our tragic story to the lovely gentleman behind the counter of the André Garrett at Cliveden House stand, he ever so kindly took our remaining crowns in exchange for the dessert. This turned out to be some of my best bargaining yet, because this baby turned out to be more than worth it!

Taste of London 2014A creamy peanut butter parfait topped with warm salted caramel and incredibly tart raspberry compote turned out to be one of the best things I had tasted all day and quickly made me forget just how ridiculously full I actually was.

We soon got carried away chatting to the lovely Chef Ed Dutton, who admitted to have been enjoying piña colada pineapples all afternoon. He soon snuck away and returned with a a little taste of fromage frais mousse with coconut, raspberry and lime from L’Autre Pied. I asked him to pose with it, and this is what he came up with.

Taste of London 2014 An impressive lunge, I must admit, but the dessert definitely stole the show.
Taste of London 2014Thanks Taste of London, for another amazing evening of edible entertainment and over indulgence. I can’t wait until next year!

Did you go to Taste of London this year? What was the absolute best thing you tried? Leave the dish and restaurant in the comments or tweet me!

Street Feast: Truck Stop

Tucked away in E14, Wood Wharf is playing host to a fleet of food trucks which will be serving up delicious dishes once a month. Truck Stop Along with the trucks, the site features a taco bar, keg party and rotary bar serving up festival-style cocktails. Truck Stop When we arrived, Truck Stop was packed with hungry Londoners looking to feast on their favourite food trucks. Truck Stop A pretty good selection had rolled up, including Mark Hix’s Fish Dogs, Anna Mae’s Mac & Cheese and Vanduke’s Thai truck. Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck StopOriginal Fry Up Material was serving up something deliciously naughty, which I couldn’t help but be tempted by.
Truck Stop A Truck Stop special of dry-aged chuck and short rib patty, dry cure bacon, hash brown, soft cotswold legbar egg, cheese and sauce all piled onto a brioche bun. Truck StopThat is one badass burger, if you ask me.
To accompany the monster, we ordered a side of dainty crinkle cut fries.
You know, to balance it out.
Truck Stop At the end of the site, a group of people were huddled around the Taco Bar. Now I know tacos are tasty, and I have heard good things about Breddo’s Tacos, but why would this cause a huddle?Truck StopAs I got nearer, I realised people were taking shots from the bar.
The reason for the onlookers being that these weren’t ordinary shots.
They were Chillibacks: one shot of Jose Cuervo tequila followed by a shot of Breddo’s pickled habanero juice.
Hands trembled wrapped around shot glasses as friends grinned from ear to ear egging their buddies on. Two quick shots resulted with a twisted face followed by bulging eyes.
This was all very amusing to watch, but I was hungry.
Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck StopBesides the tequila torture at the end of the line, Breddo’s also serve up tasty tacos.
We tried the 10 hour slow roasted chipotle short rib beef and the habanero, agave and lime chicken with mango slaw. Both had excellent flavour combinations, tender meat and some serious heat. Truck Stop Truck StopTruck Stop We wandered around looking for our next taste, watching the lines get longer and longer. Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck StopI spotted happy faces leaving Yum Bun’s food truck and quickly joined the growing queue.
Truck Stop Truck Stop Truck StopTruck StopWhilst waiting for my pork bun, I was overjoyed to find a big bottle of Sriracha waiting to be poured over my buns. Truck Stop

My pork bun with slow-roasted  Blythburgh belly pork, cucumber, spring onion and hoi sin sauce was finally ready. It looked absolutely perfect, sitting there all covered in sauce, tucked in its bun.
Truck StopI of course then doused it with a generous serving of Sriracha hot sauce and took a bite.Truck StopIt was so delicious that a glorious beam of rainbow shot out form the clouds overhead.
Not really, but it was damn good.
Truck Stop A navy green ambulance in the middle of the Truck Stop had a longer queue than any other. Truck StopIt turned out to be Mother Clucker, Ross’ southern style fried chicken truck, which was pumping out chick-wiches and popcorn chicken to a growing mass of people. Truck Stop Truck StopMother Clucker’s chicken has been marinated in sweet tea brine and is coated in buttermilk before being mixed with a secret blend of spices to create a traditional, southern style bite of fried chicken.
I had to try some.

The line lingered on and on and eventually we were next to try the mother clucking chicken.

Truck StopMy order of the popcorn chicken was finally ready.
The cup was filled with hot, tender chicken which truly had delicious flavour, further enhanced by the fiery hot sauce.
Although the queue seemed to dwindle on forever, I must admit, it was worth the wait.

Truck Stop

Truck Stop has been rolling into Wood Wharf the first Thursday and Friday of each month and will be returning this September so don’t miss it! For more info, check out their website.

FEAST London

FEAST London is a glorious event that takes place a few times a year in different spots around London. Chefs, restaurateurs and food stalls join together to provide foodies with an epic spread.

This year’s first FEAST was located in Tobacco Dock, a cavernous tobacco warehouse which has since been renovated. With a much cheaper entry fee than some of London’s leading food festivals and its East London location, there was a fun, funky crowd wandering around to the alternative music streaming from the speakers.
WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTThe lovely Parissima and I entered with empty stomachs and excitement in our eyes, not knowing what kind of FEAST to expect.
And boy did we get a mouthful.
WEFEASTFirst stop, Coco Face.
Brilliantly branded coconuts with fresh, nutty coconut water inside.
The perfect nutrients to prepare us for the enormous task ahead: eating everything in sight. WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEAST
We wandered around the stalls, making friends, reading menus and checking out the goods on offer. The spread was unbelievable.

Mishkin’s had cheesy Rueben Hero Melts and Pickles on a stick. WEFEAST

Frederick’s offered fine-dining street food.

WEFEAST

Here we tried the Arancini, fried Sicilian rice balls stuffed with peas and ham.WEFEASTThe hot, crispy balls were the perfect warm up.

The sweet snap of fresh peas went perfectly with the salty ham and cheesy rice filling.
We were ready for more.
WEFEASTA quick stop at the Wine Cellar and we were on our way.WEFEASTWEFEAST

The Wright Brothers were there shucking big, meaty oysters, but it was far to cold to slither one of these down.
WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTThe Last Days of Pisco were serving up a beautiful Sea Bass Ceviche, but again, I was looking for bigger, warmer things. WEFEAST

WEFEASTWEFEAST

And then we came to Bone Daddies. WEFEASTThe much talked about Ramen restaurant seems to always be packed. So packed, that I haven’t bothered popping in to see what the fuss is about.

Luckily, they came to me and I could now sample the soup queue free.
We ordered a bowl to share and I snapped some pics of the terribly camera shy bonedaddies themselves.
WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTI was skeptical at first, but I must say, this is no ordinary bowl of noodles.
The ramen was absolutely delicious, with a spicy broth, crunchy bok choy, a perfectly cooked egg, and al dente noodles.
A heavenly combination which offered a nice warm hug in the freezing weather.
WEFEASTThe venue was filled with fire pits which left the smoky smell of winter in the air. I found the signs surrounding the pits quite funny:
Please do not touch the fire pits…. for obvious reasons.

The pits and heat lamps were scattered around the warehouse which we made frequent stops at to thaw our fingers and chat with other foodies to decide our next bite.WEFEASTThe venue had now started to fill and the atmosphere was great. There was live music playing, people laughing and chatting at the long, decorated picnic tables and as you can imagine, the most incredible smell of food in the air. WEFEASTWEFEASTWe made our way upstairs to the second level of food.

WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTBig Apple Hot Dogs were sizzling on the grill. 
WEFEASTHoxton’s new restaurant Beagle was serving up Buttermilk fried rabbit with black bean salsa, which I now wish I tried. 
WEFEAST
Beard to Tail was serving up BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders and Wild Boar Faggots, a traditional English recipe of meatballs made with belly pork and offal bound with breadcrumbs. WEFEAST Crêpes were cooking. WEFEAST Fried chicken rolls were frying. WEFEASTAnd samples were sampling. WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTAnna Mae was stirring up something good with her pimped up Mac & Cheese.WEFEASTWEFEASTCheesus, doesn’t that look good?!WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEAST

After enough wandering around, we followed our noses to the famous Pizza Pilgrims.
After a 6 week pilgrimage around Italy, the two brothers, Thom and James, set up their pizza venture selling authentic Neapolitan pizza in London markets.WEFEAST
WEFEASTThey make the pizzas with simple, fresh ingredients and then pop them in their van-turned-pizza oven to bake.
Talk about multi-functional. 
WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEAST

Just look at that steaming slice of heaven.
It was absolutely delicious. Chewy, crunchy crust with sweet marinara, melted mozzarella and a sprinkling of fresh basil. I doused mine in chili oil for an extra kick.
WEFEASTAfter finishing our pizza, we eyed Elliot’s gourmet cheeseburger. WEFEASTThe burger consisted of a collection of gourmet ingredients squeezed onto the tiniest burger I’ve ever seen. If we were getting technical, this should’ve been called The Elliot’s Slider… or The World’s Tiniest Cheeseburger. WEFEAST
WEFEAST The meat was cooked to perfection, flavours were incredible and I loved the home-made dill butter. But, it definitely left me wanting more. WEFEASTOn the other side of the Tobacco Dock, a self-proclaimed posh violinist was playing Bulgarian folk music. But, we weren’t there for this show.
WEFEASTWe were there for this one.
Er… the one behind the naked Ron Jeremy. WEFEASTPatty & Bun is London’s newest answer to the burger craze.
A stone’s throw from MEATliquor, they’ve brought some serious game to the burger competition.
Yet again, I wasn’t willing to wait in a queue or dine at obscure hours so I’ve missed out on the early Patty & Bun hype.
But strike two on the ol’ foodie bucket list, another one has come to me! WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTA mastered conveyor belt-like prep line was at work before our eyes.
Sauce, sauce, sauce, ketchup, ketchup, ketchup, lettuce, lettuce, lettuce, picked onion, pickled onion, pickled onion… 
WEFEASTWEFEASTWEFEASTIMG_4085We were mesmerised as our masterpiece was created.IMG_4088

WEFEASTWe went for the Ari Gold.
A monster compared to The World’s Smallest Cheeseburger… I mean Elliot’s.
A juicy creation with incredible flavour and the perfect balance of smoky, sweet and sour toppings all piled on on a brioche bun.
I’m debating this even as I type, but this may just be my new favourite burger.
Gasp.

WEFEASTThis funky two piece band decked out in purple velour suits were up next and really got the crowd going. Thoroughly drunk by this point, the crowd was singing along to every word and some ladies even went out on the dance floor. 
IMG_4081IMG_4082Too cold and too sober to continue watching, I was on the move for something sweet.
WEFEASTThis little macaron maid was serving up macaron milkshakes.
I so desperately wanted to try this, but my shaking body and frozen fingers insisted I stay away. IMG_4066IMG_4067 We each got a few macarons to nibble as we made our final trip around FEAST.
The macaron maid herself couldn’t resist a bite of her cookies.
One for the jar, one for me…IMG_4070We stopped by the lovely Meringue Girls stall to purchase some parting gifts. The colourful meringues temptingly line a crate on display. WEFEASTWEFEASTIMG_4071 I selected a few to take away in a delicate box and Paris chose the darling package of mini meringues. I’ve previously been a bit bitter I didn’t come up with this first as I now see them everywhere, but flavour and texture of these are divine and I would definitely recommend trying them. IMG_4075IMG_4077We came, we saw, we FEASTed.
It was a spectacular event and I waddled away with an ache in my tummy and a smile on my face.

The next event has yet to be announced, but you can bet I’ll be there.
Keep an eye on their website and twitter for upcoming events and be sure you book ahead as tickets sell out quickly!