Included on the costs of some tickets were tokens (tokens sounds to Willy Wonka- the truth was that they were photocopied pieces of badly trimmed paper) that were the "currency" at the restaurant stands. I met up with a friend and once we pooled our tokens together- Taste of London was ours for the taking.
First up was the Pressed Tomato Mosiac, Black Olive Tapenade, Balsamic Vinegar dish from Angela Hartnett at the Connaught. It was refreshing and a great summer dish but it was nothing more than tomatoes with tapenade. A surpise hit was the Chicken Tikka from Benares. It wasn't so much a shocker for me as it was for the Toral and her family who are Indian. Another winner came from Inn the Park. The Saltmarsh lamb chop with white beans and a green sauce had the most tender chops with a herby and lemony green sauce that perked up the dish. It was served with simple white beans that rounded it out and turned it into a hearty meal. From Pied a Terre, somewhere I've been wanting to go to, was a cold Pumpkin & Ginger Soup it was good but a bit too sweet for a cold savoury soup for me. Momo satisfied my need for fried goods after a serious bout of wine tasting with Briouts of cheeses with fresh mint. Pearl offered a Salad of smoked duck with baby beetroot, walnuts and pickled shallots with a dessert of coffee yoghurt with lemon foam thrown in. Salad good but the combo of coffee and lemon not so good. From Fifteen we picked a Creamy risotto of smashed peas, broad beans, mint & ricotta salata. Good but something that could be done at home.
My top rated dish of the day was from Roka, a resto I love. Lamb cutlets in a hot pepper paste and sesame was sublime. They had a large barbecue set up and the cutlets were straight form the grill and served by people who looked like they were having a good time there (which could possibly have something to do with the close proximity to the Caipirnha stand). One bite would have a kick of spice only to be cooled in the next from the sesame sauce.
You're probably wondering what the pictures of cheese have to do with this. There was a hall of cheese in which some cheese tasting competition had been held but also where you could work your way through quite a few. I just loved walking into a cheese hall and needed a photo. It was easier to take a picture of this rather than my dishes because I have no eye-hand coordination and found it tough to take photos with one hand.