Taste of London 2015

Remember London back in June, when the sun shone gloriously on upturned, smiling faces? People spilled into the streets, joyously sharing a pint or two of Pimm’s, lovebirds skipped arm-in-arm through the park, and boats sailed gracefully up the Thames – every drop of sunlight absorbed and every ounce of Vitamin D enjoyed. The winds have changed, literally, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look back on the summer season with fondness. Especially with a flashback to my favourite food-filled event, Taste of London, which is now kicking of with its winter sister, creatively referred to as: Taste of London Winter. To help get you in the mood for the weekend long feast, let’s look back at the main event.  Taste of London 2015I grabbed my dining partner in crime, and made our way to Regent’s Park for an afternoon of gourmand delight. Taste of London 2015Taste of London 2015We first said hello to our burger buddies from across the pond, Shake Shack, guarded by smiling faces, including this posing beauty.
Taste of London 2015After snacking and sampling from an incredible selection of stalls, we stopped by Australian tea brand, T2 Tea
Taste of London 2015
They had a buzzing stall pumping out music and pouring out samples of an endless variety of loose leaf teas.Taste of London 2015We filled up on our favourites before hunting down more treats to try.
Taste of London 2015East London’s star in the sky, Duck & Waffle, were dishing up the classics. Taste of London 2015We decided Duck & Waffle’s Chef de Cuisine, Tom Cenci, looked like a giant chef taking over the Swiss Re building.Taste of London 2015An obligatory order of the duck and waffle never fails to satisfy.
Have you seen Daniel Doherty’s cookbook, yet? Perfect Christmas gift for the foodie in the family, and quite the bargain. Taste of London 2015We couldn’t resist some bacon wrapped dates with linguica and manchego. The perfect combination of sweet and savoury – these filling bites are like candy for adults.
Taste of London 2015 Taste of London 2015Before heading for Round 2, we chilled Mahiki-style in the sun whilst rocking to the beat. Taste of London 2015We soon spotted our other friends from across the pond, New York-style Chop Shop had some wonderfully meaty offerings.Taste of London 2015Creekstone Farms USDA hanger steak was served with a whipped Parmesan & Dijon mustard dressing. Taste of London 2015And smoked creamed corn with barbecued beef short ribs embodied comfort food on a plate.
Taste of London 2015 For those looking to top up with some bubbles, Laurent-Perrier‘s Champagne garden was overflowing with people watchers, and later offered a Champagne Masterclass. Taste of London 2015Lured by the scent of smoking BBQ, we squeezed past the growing queue of Roka‘s Robata grill where Korean spiced lamb cutlets sizzled away.
Taste of London 2015 L’Autre Pied offered elegant portions of scallop ceviche with cucumber, balsamic, crème fraîche and dill. Taste of London 2015And The Truscott Arms served up comforting plates of beautifully cooked beef cheek served with smoked mash and crispy shallots. Taste of London 2015 Taste of London 2015We made our way to José Pizarro where pieces of acorn fed Jamón Ibérico were being expertly sliced straight from the leg.  Taste of London 2015 Taste of London 2015The Palomar oozed cool, serving Israeli influenced specialities from the much favourited restaurant. Taste of London 2015I couldn’t resist one of my favourite dishes of Shakshukit, a deconstructed kebab of minced beef and lamb served with yoghurt, tahini, watercress pesto, tapenade, Harrisa and a mini pita, all bursting with flavour.
Taste of London 2015Chris Thompson, Duck & Waffle protégé, cooked up something fit for the Flintstones, but happily devoured by my dining partner and I. Other foodies greedily looked on, all asking eagerly where they could get their hands on the succulent braised short rib, smothered in vibrant jalapeño miso sauce.
Taste of London 2015Switching tracks to the sweet side, we visited Tredwell’s for some salted caramel soft serve, topped with ginger cake crumble. Taste of London 2015 Taste of London 2015And made sure we said hello to Chef Marcus Wareing, himself. Taste of London 2015
Close to bursting but looking to satisfy our sweet tooth with a final treat, we tried Duck & Waffle’s buttermilk and corn mousse with pistachio and toffee for one last bite.
Taste of London 2015Now that you’re suitably armed with a fair share of foodporn, who’s making their way to Taste of London Winter this weekend? Warning: sunshine not included.

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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.
Taste of London 2013

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!
Taste of London 2013

(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.
Taste of London 2013

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.
Taste of London 2013
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!