Yesterday the two of us headed out in the glorious sunshine to Regent’s Park for the Taste of London Food & Drink Festival 2014.
It was a spontaneous little adventure, but one that we were so pleased to have done! So much so that we’re planning on making it an annual occurrence from now on!
Since it’s beginnings 10 years ago, Taste has become a must visit occasion to foodies all over the world, with 21 festivals in cities all over the shop: UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. It’s a chance for visitors to try dishes from the city’s greatest restaurants, not to mention from world famous chefs! It’s also a lovely opportunity to have a drink and enjoy some live entertainment.
This summer, Taste of London has fallen upon Regent’s Park (from June 18th – 22nd), and showcases 40 of London’s hottest restaurants, live demos, interactive cooking classes, tasting sessions etc.
We were completely overwhelmed with how much there was to see and do, so we decided to start off by just walking around and taking it all in.
Casual Valentine Warner and Vivek Singh.
Gin & Tonic popcorn? Yes. A million times yes.
We obviously couldn’t say no to a paratha.
Dumplings from one of the ‘I Love Korean Food’ stalls.
A sweet cheese with pieces of jelly from the Foods of Eastern Europe stall.
Poppy seed cheesecake. On a stick. We were both so impressed with the flavour combo that it may feature in a recipe we make in future…
BBQ spiced pigs ears, fried chicken necks with lemon and garlic, and a pistachio macaroon with dark chocolate mousse from Duck & Waffle.
Discovered that ‘Gac Fruit’ exists at the Exotic Fruits of Thailand stand.
Food hangover? No problem, you can stop over at the Spa to get a head massage.
Thai Green Curry and Penang Curry.
Bacon, jalapeño cornbread at the Lurpak stand.
Some seriously tasty homemade marshmallows. Cappuccino and Raspberry were our faves!
Amongst all the looking around and tasting from the exhibitors stands, we also indulged in a few dishes from restaurant stands.
First up we headed over to Assado (located in Waterloo, Goan/Portuguese/Brazilian cuisine – see more here)… because well, we did. We tried the Braised Octopus with Chilli and Garlic. Slow cooked and marinated in chilli, garlic and smoked paprika and served with crisp toast. Issy particularly loved this, the octopus was tender and just on point.
Issy also got a photo with Cyrus Todiwala.
We then headed over to Gaucho (Argentinian cuisine) and tried the Sea Trout Ceviche, Pink Grapefruit, Fennel and Tigers Milk. It was the first time either of us had tried ceviche and we found it sooo light and refreshing on a warm day! Converts.
Thirsty, we both opted for cocktails. An Aperol Spritz and a Mango Bellini were our drinks of choice.
We then took our drinks to one of the spontaneous pink beanbags for a bit of a breather.
Then we ran into a very merry Raymond Blanc. We fangirled.
We then decided to try the Ibérico Pork Ribs with Quince Glaze and Caramelised Cauliflower Purée from Salt Yard (Goodge Street, Spanish/Italian cuisine). Oh my was this delicious! The meat was deliciously charred and sweet, and just falling off the bone… and the sweet cauliflower puree was just lush!
Issy: ‘Warning… you will not be able to eat this in a dignified way.’
Ang: ‘You will not care.’
Oh and then we found Michel Roux Jr. We fangirled.
We then decided on getting the Szechwan Salt and Pepper Squid from Maze (Mayfair, French/Asian cuisine – part of the Gordon Ramsay Group). It perfectly salt and peppered.
Ang ate it all. Every last bit.
The last savoury dish we had was British Wagyu Beef Dripping on Toast with Kentish Tomatoes from Plum + Spilt Milk (King’s Cross St Pancras, classic food courtesy of chef Mark Sargeant. It was made pretty with basil leaves and a borage flower. This was just fit. Fit on toast.
Then we bumped into Omar Allibhoy. We fangirled. A lot.
Then, in a hunt for something sweet we headed to Ametsa with Arzak Instruction (Belgravia, New Basque cuisine) for the Helado de Piña Asada con Leche Tostada (Roasted Pineapple Ice Cream with Toasted Milk).
OH. MY. FLIPPING. GOSH.
This was heaven in a bowl. Intensely flavoured pineapple ice cream, a nutty milk and some sort of crunchy biscuit. Chef Sergi warned us it was addictive and boy was he right. We fell in love.
They also took a photo of us in a frame. Yup.
Still hungry for dessert, we headed over to Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa (Near St. Paul’s, fire-based cooking) to try the Amedei White Chocolate Panna Cotta with Wild Strawberries, Champagne & Basil. Tart strawberries, champagne foam, smooth creamy panna cotta. We definitely enjoyed it. Something that was apparently evident on our faces as we got given another one for free by one of the chef’s. Win.
Suitably fed, we made our way home.
Our favourite savoury dish (by far!): Salt Yard’s Ibérico Pork Ribs with Quince Glaze and Caramelised Cauliflower Purée. Not to be missed!
Our favourite dessert: Ametsa’s Roasted Pineapple Ice Cream with Toasted Milk. If it were a person, we would marry it. So would you. Trust us.