One of my absolute favourite events of the year is Taste of London. I went last year and just loved everything about it. An outdoor festival, packed with some of the best restaurants in London, serving small portions of delicious food so you have the opportunity to try lots of dishes… what more could a foodie want? The event runs throughout the week and into the weekend – this year I was tempted to go earlier in the week, but decided to go on Saturday to make the most of it with plenty of tipples, and without fear of a mid-week hangover!
It was quite muddy underfoot when we went, as it had been raining pretty heavily during the week, but we were fortunate that it stayed away for our visit. Still, I don’t think rain could dampen my spirits at this event!
Like last year, I thought I’d list the dishes we tried and tell you what I thought!
First up was Cobia sashimi with pickled green chilli salsa, black sesame and chive oil from M.
This was Tim’s choice so he ate most of it. It was an interesting dish but he wasn’t hugely keen. As the fish was quite ‘meaty’ it wasn’t like your typical sashimi. Worth a try though!
Next was Macaroni and cheese, braised beef cheeks, pickled onion and croutons from Heddon Street Kitchen.
As you might have guessed, this was my choice and might just have been my favourite dish of the day! It was rich, moreish, meaty and cheesy. My heaven in a bowl, really!
Next we moved over to Duck & Waffle. We were tempted by the signature dish last year but said we’d wait until we visited the actual restaurant. Anyway low and behold, another year has passed and we still haven’t had a chance to go. So this year, it was on! And I was very excited to see Dan Doherty himself being interviewed in front of the stand. I was definitely a bit starstruck, this event really is a food geek’s dream! It only dawned on me when looking at this photo that I was technically ‘video bombing’ them. Sorry guys!
The Duck & Waffle dish was just gorgeous as expected. Very unusual flavours, especially with the combination of the duck and maple syrup. But it just works! And this is why it’s the restaurant’s most renowned dish. Complete perfection!
We paired this dish with white wine from Beaujolais Wines – this is one of my tips for Taste of London. You can often get a seat at one of the drinks exhibitors and tuck into your food there, and the prices are totally reasonable. Why stand up and fork away at a beautiful dish like this when you can sit back and really appreciate it?
We also tried another dish from Duck & Waffle which was just crying out to me – Parmesan and polenta croquettes with black truffle, which was incredible.
Next I had to have a coconut rum cocktail – I had one last year and it was delicious. We headed over to the ‘pirate’ ship and it was just as good as last year!
Our next dish was a little French number and one of our faves – Frog leg meuniere, spinach cream and peanut crumbs from Mirror Room at Rosewood London (a beautiful hotel, definitely recommend paying it a visit if you haven’t been before). It was a very generous portion and incredibly tasty.
We then moved on to the Dorset crab, chilled pea and mint veloute, pickled cucumber and bisque oil from L’Autre Pied. This dish was a nice contrast and very light – a perfect summer dish.
Last year we drank some epic Bloody Marys from Ketel One, so we had to go back. And once again, they were just as good. They also host Bloody Mary ‘masterclasses’ throughout the day.
As you might know I’ve been looking after the PR in the UK for Comté Cheese, and I was really excited that Raymond Blanc was serving a burger with Comté. This was at the Action Against Hunger stand, where Raymond Blanc, Jason Atherton, Gizzi Erskine, Shaun Searley and Nieves Barragan Mohacho had all designed burgers, with the proceeds going towards the charity. We headed over and the stand was particularly busy – we placed our order for the Beef burger with celeriac remoulade, garlic aioli and Comté cheese.
We also wanted some padron peppers, and were told that we could do a ‘meal deal’ to include sweet potato fries for only a pound more, which seemed like a no brainer. Unfortunately the wait for all of this was rather insane, we were waiting for at least 20 minutes, and orders placed after ours were being served, despite there being a ticketing system in place. It was only later that I learned that the people working in the kitchen were volunteers, which I’m sure would have calmed the British queuing rage outside if this had been made more clear. Thankfully the burger was absolutely worth it!
My last drink of the day was a refreshing Pimms before knocking back some oysters at the Chapel Down stand.
Something that was interesting about this year’s Taste of London was that none of the restaurants would accept cash this year, just card. In previous years, you bought food ‘tokens’ but this year it was card only. Fortunately Tim has a contactless card which definitely made the process easier, but would have been a nightmare if I’d had to use my chip and pin!
I’m counting down the days until next year, but in the meantime there’s Taste of London: The Festive Edition in November – can’t wait!
I was given a press pass for entry into Taste of London but did not receive any payment, and bought all food and drinks myself. All views are my own.