Labelled by some as a corporate sell out, Taste of London is an event I’ve always enjoyed going to. If you’re even a smidgen of a restaurant geek, then turning up to a park full of some of London’s best restaurants, (with most of the chefs somewhere to be seen), offering small tasters of their dishes, is really exciting.
You can buy tickets on the door (you’re looking at between £20-£29) and once you’re in you have to buy dishes using crowns (1 crown = £1).
One of the standout dishes was from the much-loved Islington pub Drapers Arms; duck hearts, radishes, peas and duck fat croutons (5 crowns) – duck fat anything will always go down well with me! They even won Best Dressed Stall by making it look exactly like the pub with a few cleverly placed photos; not bad considering it’s their first time at Taste.
The Clove Club’s grilled lamb cutlet with gochuchang, black sesame and mint (9 crowns) was out of this world. The chop itself was humongous and the thick layer of fat was full of flavour. If you don’t trust me trust the judging panel (made up of Tracy MacLeod and Gizzi Erskine amongst others); they awarded it the Best in Taste dish.
House of Ho did a rather gorgeous looking giant tiger prawn (12 crowns) with a Vietnamese coriander and chilli dipping sauce. The Modern Pantry’s mince and tatties (6 crowns) was pimped up peasant food and the addition of curry spices and ardana puffed wild rice added an intriguing twist.
Sushisamba’s Kobe beef burger with foie gras, truffle and Peruvian potato (9 crowns) came in a cute little box which was quite fun. They even brought along their iconic orange tree to go above the cocktail bar. I couldn’t resist going for neighbouring Duck and Waffle’s duck and waffle (12 crowns); here the confit duck leg had been taken off the bone making it much easier to eat. And it was ruddy, bloody lovely.
You’d be hard pushed to get around every stall, and some of the queues got the better of us, but spots like MEATliquor, José Pizarro, The Palomar and Roux at Parliament Square are also ones to look out for.
There’s loads of other stuff to do too; Balvenie whisky masterclasses, Laurent Perrier masterclasses, AEG Let’s Taste Live Cooking experience, even a barbecue put on by Asda if that sort of thing tickles your pickle. Basically, there’s plenty to do.
If you’re thinking of going to Taste of London this year, I’d thoroughly recommend it. You end up spending the price of a meal in a good restaurant but for the variety on offer and the sheer fun of it all, it’s bloomin’ worth it.
I visited Taste of London as their guest.
Take a look at the Taste of London website for more information.