TASTE OF LONDON 16.

It’s that time of year again, last week Taste of London popped up in Regents Park and London’s foodie scene flocked to enjoy some of the cities best dishes. I was of course there with bells on (twice) and have nothing but praise for the event that kills it every single time. Please remember that the following food was consumed over two sittings and was shared. I’m not that much of a pig I promise. 

Let’s start by discussing Heddon Street Kitchen’s Mac ‘n’ Cheese with Braised Beef Cheeks, Pickled Onion & Croutons. It was heavenly, crispy, cheesy, beefy goodness. It killed it. Obviously. I mean look at it…

The Tamarind Spiced Chicken Wings with Onion & Coriander were sticky and crispy and juicy and delicious. HSK also had an ice cream bar with pic ‘n’ mix toppings which looked extremely enjoyable. Well done Mr Ramsay. 

This was quite possibly the winning dish. Smoked 48 Hour Cooked USDA Prime Short Rib with Buttermilk Purée & Textures of Onion. It was visually spectacular, melted in your mouth and tasted sensational. M Restaurants you really know what you’re doing. 

Sartoria smashed it with their Fettuccine with Grana Padano, broad beans, peas and black truffle. I mean honestly look at those truffle shavings, are they joking?!

One of my favourite experiences was at Chai Wu. They fed us very well and 2/3 were in my top 5 dishes of the week. Big up the Popcorn shrimp with spicy wasabi mayo and the Wagyu puff – both SUBLIME. The Roast duck mantou bun with garlic truffle oil was also rather dreamy. Watered down with an ice cold cup of Twisted Halo’s boozy sparkling coconut water. 

Duck & Waffle‘s stand was heaving the entire time and you couldn’t get your hands on their dishes without getting in line. I obviously got in line, Dan Doherty is a genius and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve visited the restaurant, they always do something fun at Taste. I was extremely impressed with the Sloppy Joe; a Beef ragout with smoked chilli in a brioche bun, spring onion, roasted peanuts, crispy shallots & pickles. I mean you can’t go wrong with a sloppy Joe but this was next level delicious.

I wasn’t  hugely sold on were the Crispy Polenta & Parmesan Croquettes with black truffle, they were a little stodgy for my liking and didn’t compare to the other dishes. 

Adding my own toppings to the Golden grahams soft serve was a definite highlight. I went in on the Salted caramel sauce, roasted hazelnuts, crunchy marshmallows and flakes. I was over the moon to be trusted with my own toppings and I definitely made the most of being able to do so.

I was glad to see the traditional Duck & Waffle finally on the menu, as it seemed to be missing in previous years, I just didn’t want to waste valuable stomach space for something I’d already tried. it’s a winner though.

Theo Randall is one of my celeb chef crushes and the fact that he spends every year at Taste feeding the crowds with chunks of parmesan just makes the crush grow stronger. His food is pretty spectacular too. Pasta gaols in the form of his Cappelletti di vitello – Handmade pasta stuffed with slow cooked veal and pancetta with porcini mushroom and dessert goals with the Sorbetto alla pesca – Fresh Sicilian peach sorbet with baked white peaches, vanilla and Moscato. A must have every year. (Ignore previous comment about not having the same thing twice)

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Ametsa with Arzak Instruction may be a mouthful but the Trufón AKA The Big Truffle is well worth it. Idiot over here was too excited to get a before shot and can’t get the video into the blog post but TRUST me this was goooooood.

Tastings are a BIG thing at Taste (duh) and we were lucky enough to experience a Grana Padano and Prosecco pairing with Masterchef finalist Danilo Cortellini. Hosted by Grana Padano in association with Prosecco D.O.C. this was 20 minutes of pure Italian foodie bliss and highly recommended to anyone with a taste for the finer things in life. Danilo whipped us all up a portion of rainbow tortellini (eat your heart out rainbow bagels) filled with a creamy mix of Grana Padano and Béchamel sauce, floating in a tomato based broth with fresh prawns. It was DIVINE. 

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Sea Containers had a winner with their Crab toast, citrus aioli, avocado & pickled jalapeños – all the freshest, yummiest things slathered on a crispy carb, you just cannot go wrong. 

I must give a special shout out and say a huge thank you to the guys at Hippeas for inviting us down as their guests last week. For those of you that don’t know, Hippeas are changing the snack game (one chickpea at a time apparently) and if you’ve not tried them then you’re majorly missing out. Organic chickpea puffs may not sound that sexy but trust me these are a game changer and the guys running the show know how to throw a party. All the middle class white girls rejoice – they’re gluten free, vegan and contain less than 100 calories per bag. I’m a Hippea and you should be too. 

I love Mexican food. Like, really love Mexican food and Molé Taco Bar do it really well. The Guacamole Tostada is a combination of all my favourite things; Avocados with pickled pomegranate seeds, burnt corn, radish & quest fresco and the Cochinita Pibil is the perfect taco – Pulled pork, avocado, pickled onion and orange habanero. Salivating… 

Japanese Barbecue kings Roka gave me the meat sweats with their slow cooked pork belly and lamb cutlets with korean spices. I’m not the worlds biggest barbecued meat fan but both of these dishes were well and truly devoured by my cousin/Taste buddy Lisa and she was in her element the entire time.

Taste is also about the pale, pale Rosé and the best sweet treats. Chocolate covered Oreos by La Di Da Sweet Treats to be precise.

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I do highly rate Bubbledogs but their Horny Devils just didn’t do it for me. In theory Sweetcorn fritters with jalapeños and cheddar cheese should be my ideal dish but they were stodgy (stodgier than the Duck & Waffle croquettes) and seriously lacking a dip. Soz.

We finished off our Friday night with Jose Pizarro‘s 100% acorn fed Jamón Ibérico, the Prawn fritters with saffron aioli and a Chocolate pot with salt, olive oil and Gin Mare biscuit. By this point I could barely consume another morsel and although none of the dishes were my choices they were all pretty good.

 




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