Taste of London Winter 2015

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.
Taste of London Winter 2015 Taste of London Winter 2015The Truscott Arms started the afternoon on a delicious note with several winter warming dishes.
Taste of London Winter 2015This take on colcannon was filled with creamy ragstone and topped with basil oil and fried kale – an edible hug in a bowl.
Taste of London Winter 2015Moreish 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.
Taste of London Winter 2015 Their icon dish was the most tender piece of beef cheek, served swimming in a pool of smoked mash, topped with crispy shallots. Taste of London Winter 2015 Over at The Bandstand, some really talented bands kept the vibe cool as we wiggled our way around the stalls. Taste of London Winter 2015 Taste of London Winter 2015The Laurent-Perrier Champagne Room was stunningly decorated and filled with minglers slowly sipping their bubbles before braving the cold again.
Taste of London Winter 2015Over 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. Taste of London Winter 2015 Taste of London Winter 2015 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. Taste of London Winter 2015The 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…
Taste of London Winter 2015 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.Taste of London Winter 2015We opted for Francesco Mazzei’s spicy veal meatballs with Grana Padano and salted padron peppers.  Taste of London Winter 2015 Having experienced a feast fit for a queen, it was time I took my place on the throne… Taste of London Winter 2015 I think it rather suits me, don’t you? Winter is coming… and so is hibernation at this rate. Taste of London Winter 2015 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.
Taste of London Winter 2015

Glistening in the glow of winter light, Club Gascon was serving some winter-themed treats.Taste of London Winter 2015 Taste of London Winter 2015We went for the oversized black forest macaron, filled with brandy soaked cherries, dark chocolate mousse and chestnut cream.
Taste of London Winter 2015 We watched, mesmerised, as Pan-N-Ice chopped, slathered and rolled ice cream into rolls. Taste of London Winter 2015 Taste of London Winter 2015 This Thai-style method was enticing, but I was too cold to even consider a frozen treat. Taste of London Winter 2015 Sari Cakes hand-decorates each fruit cake inspired by ancient henna creations.
Taste of London Winter 2015 Vicetti’s homemade tarts were beautifully presented, with great flavour combinations. Taste of London Winter 2015The 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? Taste of London Winter 2015Instead, we waddled our way back to Maze for fried doughnuts swimming in a beautifully tart clementine curd.
Taste of London Winter 2015Taste 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?

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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.

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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

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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. 
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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. 
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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!