Thursday, June 26, 2008

Taste of London 2008

My flatmate asked if this entailed kebabs and dirty pavements, and my brother thought jellied eels would be a sure bet. However, Taste of London is a food festival in Regent’s Park showcasing the cream of London’s restaurants, each giving ‘tastes’ of three of their signature dishes to hoards of hungry punters. Well, not exactly giving – you have to pay to get in, and pay for the food too, with vouchers called crowns which you have to buy from the organizers as well.

Our tickets got lost in the post, so they had to provide replacements on the day. I had ordered an extra book of the vouchers, only to discover this had not been included after I had entered the fair. So back out again, fighting security all the way, fighting with the ticket office, blah blah blah. Eventually, fully ticketed up we entered into the fray inside.

The fun is diving from one restaurant to the next, snacking. I very much enjoyed a Parmesan custard with anchovy toasts from Le Café Anglais (I got a recipe card!) and an extraordinarily rich, flavoursome and foamy white tomato soup from Rhodes Twenty Four (Gary Rhodes himself was present on his stand to charm the public). My top tastes however were from Le Gavroche (Smoked chicken and foie gras terrine with lentils and truffle vinaigrette) and this extraordinarily pretty tiger prawns with wasabi mayonnaise alongside little cubes of mango and Thai Basil seed from Kai Mayfair:

As you can see from the above, you can easily ingest a huge variety of types and styles of foods very quickly. Luckily my stomach was able to take the pace.

Some restaurant staff appeared to get a bit competitive, shouting orders (over) loudly back and forth, especially if their neighbours were a bit slow. It was all quite fun and silly.

There was a separate section devoted to Chinese cuisine and food products. Harbin Beer had hired an ice sculptor to carve their logo lion, in really sparkly, glittery clear ice:

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