Wandering around a park filled as far as the eye could see with top London restaurants, the scent of meats and seafood filling the air, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Taste of London takes place at Regents Park every summer and last weekend, I got to visit for the first time, as I’d always been away when it was taking place before.
This year it was held from 17th-21st June, and I went with Tim and our friends James and Clare on the Saturday. Clutching hold of a big wad of ‘Crowns’ (the Taste of London currency to purchase food dishes), we headed inside!
There are so many restaurants and suppliers there, it’s hard to know where to begin! I’d picked up some hints and tips from press that had attended earlier in the week, so I had a few ideas. So I thought it would be easiest to list what we drank and ate at the show…
What we drank
Meantime Brewery Lager & Pale Ale
This was our first stop as it was one of the first stands we got to, and we were particularly thirsty! Tim went for the London Lager and I went for the Pale Ale, which I love.
Ketel One Bloody Mary
I’ve never been a fan of the ‘Bloody Mary’ after I tried it many years ago as a teenager and it was literally some vodka and tomato juice. Quite frankly, it made me feel sick. I have since realised what a fantastic cocktail it can be (and a perfect ‘hair of the dog’ drink after a big night out). The Bloody Mary we were given to try at Taste of London was superb – it was pre-made, served over a lot of ice and with a lot of spice in it (largely with horseradish). Absolutely gorgeous!
Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé
You really can’t go wrong with Laurent-Perrier, it’s a beautiful brand and an equally beautiful champagne. It was served with Joe & Seph’s Strawberry & Elderflower Popcorn, which was the perfect sweet snack to accompany this beverage.
Chapel Down Sparkling Wine
I really do love Chapel Down wine – I was first introduced to it a month or so ago when my friend Ceri and I were kindly given a glass each for free at Paternoster Chop House.
Mahiki ‘Coconut Grenade’
Some really creative drinks were on offer here, including Pina Colada in a Pineapple and the Coconut Grenade which we had – rum, passionfruit and lime in a real, frozen coconut!
Mortimer’s Orchard Cider
The boys bought some cider from here, which was also hosting a silent disco. Not really our kind of thing though, so we picked up our drinks and shuffled hastily away before we could be dragged into any silent dancing 😉
Ozerlat Turkish Coffee
I learned about Ozerlat Turkish Coffee ahead of Taste of London so I was very excited to meet them at the show. They’re a Cyprus-based company, very close to my heart – when I got to try a cup of their coffee at their stand, it really reminded me of home! I won’t write any more here because I’ll be writing a whole post about them and their coffee very soon 🙂
What we ate
Rock shrimp tempura, spicy chilli garlic sauce from Aqua Kyoto
Clare bought this as she’d heard good things – I had a small bite of it, and it was delicious! It has definitely made me want to visit Aqua Kyoto soon.
Lobster mac and cheese from Bluebird Chelsea
I’d been really excited about trying this – the pictures from the earlier press previews made it look amazing. I adore lobster, and can’t get enough of mac and cheese (although I really should, for the sake of my waistline!) The photo above is of the dish which was on display at the Bluebird Chelsea stand. What we were given was very different, with a lot less of the lobster shell, so it sadly looked a lot less impressive. There was also only two small pieces of lobster in it. For £10, I would expect a bit more than that.
Duck hearts, radishes and duck fat croutons from The Drapers Arms
As soon as I saw this on the menu, I was so excited to try it. I’d been hearing rave reviews about Drapers Arms and offal is one of my favourite dishes (usually liver or kidneys – I hadn’t actually tried heart before). After waiting for quite a while (longer than I had to wait anywhere else), I eventually got to tuck into these beauties and they were gorgeous. Slightly chewier than liver but with a similar kind of deep flavour. The gravy and croutons complemented them brilliantly.
Sea trout, samphire, pickled sea purslane and borage from The Drapers Arms
Tim ordered this while I ate my duck hearts – the presentation was lovely and it tasted great too!
Pork belly, gooseberry, fennel and crackling from The Drapers Arms
Now, you might be thinking, come on – THREE dishes from the same place? Why didn’t you try somewhere else? Well what actually happened was that I was given this dish by mistake when I ordered my duck hearts. Not really thinking, I stuck in my fork and ate some, immediately realising this was pork belly! All I can say is, what I tasted in that mouthful was fantastic, before I took it back to retrieve my duck hearts 😉
Belgraves Bespoke burger with Ogleshield cheese, truffle mayonnaise, red onion chutney and crisp onion rings from Pont St
A little pricey for a slider, but I really enjoyed it (it had truffle in it, what more could I want?) – the boys felt it was a little overcooked, but I didn’t mind.
Oysters from Chapel Down
Chapel Down had a great offer where you could buy three oysters and a glass of their sparkling wine for £10, which is just what we did. And lovely they were, too!
Steak samples from Asda Cooking Tipi
After I learned that Asda would be hosting ‘meat cooking demonstrations’ in a big tipi, I couldn’t wait to go and see. As I’m sure you know by now, I’m a big meat fan, and love to see it being prepared. If I’m completely honest, I didn’t really learn much, as most of it had been covered in our Ginger Pig butchery class which we attended last year, but I was more than happy to watch and be surrounded by the beautiful BBQ smell as they were cooking the steaks. At one point they invited two people from the audience to try three different cuts of beef and guess which was which, based on what they’d learned in the demonstration – and they guessed correctly! The lovely man from Asda obviously did a good job at educating everyone!
Aside from all of these food and drink feasts, we saw a cooking demonstration from chef André Garrett taking place in the AEG taste theatre:
And we also bumped into the lovely Marcus Wareing at Tredwells:
What would be quite nice, is if there were wine/spirit suggestions with the dishes at the various restaurants. I realise that this would probably be a logistical nightmare for the organisers, but I often found that whatever drink I had in my hand at the time, really didn’t fit with what I was eating.
Overall we spent quite a bit of money, but it was worth it to be able to sample so many foods and drinks from different restaurants and suppliers, and it was just a lovely day out with friends. I would absolutely recommend going next year – you can find the latest news at the official website. There’s also a Taste of London Christmas Edition which takes place at Tobacco Dock in November – early bird tickets are currently on sale.
I was provided with tickets from Asda and Freuds and a press pass by Taste of London. I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.