Taste of London 2013

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!Taste of London 2013For 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.

Taste of London 2013

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.

Taste of London 2013The 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. Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013

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.

We snaked through stalls looking for delicious dishes to spend our crowns on. Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013

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.

Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013Several stands over, a heaving queue gave way to smiling faces hovering over Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa Burger.

Taste of London 2013
I was ravenous by now became enamored by Jamie’s buns.Taste of London 2013

Taste of London 2013 Ahhh, the always attractive burger bite.

The burger was great. It was quite simple with a tender piece of meat topped with Westcombe chedder, roasted Heirloom tomatoes and charred red onion, but really hit the spot. Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013

More wandering lead to New York’s Graffiti stall, creatively covered with well…graffiti.   Taste of London 2013Here 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.  Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013 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.

Taste of London 2013Benares’ fennel infused lamb chop with mint chutney was an incredible flavour combination, which really complimented the meat.

Taste of London 2013

Roka had a BBQ grill set up grilling lamb chops and chicken wings at a manic pace with a growing line surrounding the smoke filled tent.
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Although there was a long wait, the few bites of chicken did have a great smokey, salty flavour and left me wanting more.
Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013I 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.Taste of London 2013

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.
Taste of London 2013

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.
IMG_1513Upon 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. Taste of London 2013We 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.  Taste of London 2013These 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. Taste of London 2013On 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!
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(Carribean accent) Look mon, it’s Ting n’ Ting!

Taste of London 2013

A firey wood burning oven drew us towards the Rossopomodoro stand. Taste of London 2013

Taste of London 2013Italian 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.
Taste of London 2013Sweet, 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. Taste of London 2013Heading 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. Taste of London 2013The 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.
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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.
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Try not to smile on a bad day after tackling this mouthful.Taste of London 2013
Next door, D&W’s sister restaurant Sushi Samba was serving some stunningly presented dishes. Taste of London 2013

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.

Taste of London 2013

Taste of London 2013Another 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. Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013After more stall wandering, it was time to subside the sweet tooth.

This incredible machine is something I will have to have installed in my future home. Taste of London 2013

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.

Taste of London 2013

Taste of London 2013Opera Tavern had a lovely cold chocolate fondant with salted PX caramel and hazelnut praline. It was a yummy, chocolatey treat with pieces of caramel and hazelnut to add a crunch to the rich fondant.

Taste of London 2013

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. Taste of London 2013As 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. Taste of London 2013Taste of London 2013 Taste of London 2013London 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. Taste of London 2013I 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!

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!