Monday, June 19, 2006

Taste of London

To complete my food weekend, I booked myself a ticket to this year's Taste of London in Regent's Park. Taste of London is an annual resto festival with a few demos and food vendor stalls thrown in for good measure. This year there were 40 restaurants taking part including Fifteen, Fino, Pied a Terre and Tom Aikens. This was matched by a nearly equal amount of drinks choices like Leffe, Codorniu (their Rose cava was the drink of choice at the Bloggermeet) and Innocent smoothies (for the non boozers amongst us).

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.
There were butchers, bakers and jam makers. Juice, wine and port tastings were offered. My advice for anyone going next year would be to start eating right away. We were quickly suckered into the shopping and the day went so fast that we made a mad dash in the last 30 minutes to use our tickets to get any dishes that were left.

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.

A fun day out and worth the expense- mark it in your calendar for next June.


Anonymous said...

well, what would you think, I was sitting opposite pied-a-terre yesterday evening... dinner at ROKA. I was in a sushi mood, however, so couldn't try the pork, but what I've had from the wood grill so far (madagascan prawns, for example) was divine. I adored yesterday's maki and temaki as well, wasn't too impressed with the nigiri, though - would have expected the tuna to be more tender and the salmon not to be farmed... but a great restaurant to go to, just make sure you go after payday ;-)

Xochitl said...

My mouth is watering at the thought of going back. I'll stay away from the tuna and salmon- thanks for the tip. Did you drink any sake? I had the most amazing one when I was there- it had a slight cherry smell to it and was delicious. I can't remember which it was so I can order it next time. Any idea?

Definitely one for after payday (I hope The Boy has made a note of that!)