Taste of London festival is my favourite foodie day of the year. I have gone to the festival in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and started way back in 2010 pre-Instagram years. Last year was sadly missed after a slightly heavy hen do in Blackpool, which seeing all the delicious food people were trying only made me feel worse.
For those who have not attended a Taste of London festival before, it is a show that is based in London’s Regent Park, where top restaurants have pop up kitchens serving tapas-sized dishes of their iconic dishes. This is a great way to eat around the city, from restaurants which would take ages getting all the reservations for. There are also workshops, cooking demonstrations, a small producer section so a complete foodie extravaganza. The days are split into 4-hour slots, from 12 pm and 5.30 pm, we normally can only manage the day slot, having tried far too many dishes and need a lie-down.
As ever, I went with my cousin and we had prepared our colour coded spreadsheet of the dishes we wanted to hit up and try. It was a rather full sheet! And we may have gone a bit crazy, with having had our first dish 6 minutes into the opening of the festival.
Dishes We Tried
Bao – Fried Chicken Bao with Fermented Hot Sauce, Pickled Vegetables. Softer than a cloud bao bun with tender juicy chicken with an insane crispy coating. Paired with the firey fermented sauce meant we were off to a flying start.
Jude’s Ice Cream – Uni-cone. After the hot sauce of the bao, we needed to cool things down. The super cute Uni-corn, with a charcoal wafer cone, blue spirulina vanilla ice cream, candy floss, unicorn sprinkles and of course, a miniature waffle cone horn. Super cute and delicious too!
Baptist Grill at L’Oscar – Cheeky Crumpets. Toasted Crumpet, Smoked Bone Marrow Butter, Shredded Beef Cheek, Bacon Crumb. An outstanding delish as well as being my favourite of the festival. Sticky and decadent, with the marrow butter and tender beef cheek, with the crisp crumb and pickled mushrooms cutting through all the richness. These were flying out and fingers crossed will feature on their main menu so you can get yours without having gone to the festival.
Fuwa Fuwa – Japanese Soufflé Pancakes. Soufflé Pancake with house-made honeycomb butter, whipped cream and maple syrup. These were my first ever taste of Japanese soufflé pancakes, and hopefully not the last. Lighter than air middle, as you would imagine with the name of soufflé, with a caramelised top and bottom, perfect for the honeycomb butter to melt into. Oddly very filling for clouds.
Blondie’s Kitchen – Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Frosties Ice Cream. Warm, gooey, crisp-edged cookie dough with a sweetened cereal milk ice cream with a slight maize flavour from the Frosties. Could have gotten carried away with ordering all of their dishes as sounded far too tempting.
Bun House – Pig Bun (Sticky Charsiu & Yam) & Beef Bun (Brisket, Chuhou & Black Pepper). Time for some more savoury items after all those sweet treats. I went for the Beef Bun and my cousin the Pork, again soft cloud-like buns with a centre of tender beef with a slight fire from the pepper to offset the sweetness of the bun.
Action Against Hunger – Chicken Karaage with Yuzu Chilli Mayonnaise by Tim Anderson from Nanban and Nacho Fried Chicken Tenders with a Valentinas Sour Cream Dip by Neil Rankin from Temper. Action Against Hunger always have great chefs creating dishes for them each year, and this year was no different. Nacho Chicken Tenders with a corn tortilla coating was crazy good, with a cheese flavour from the crumbs clinging to the juicy chicken strips. A recipe I might give a go at home! Now the Karaage was bonkers juicy and crispy, with the tartness of the yuzu, that meant we may have gone back for seconds with minutes to closing time to get one last hit.
Flesh and Buns – BBQ Chicken Wings with Bone Daddies Wing Sauce & Sesame and Smoked Brisket with Chipotle Miso Sauce, Carrot Pickle in a Toasted Bao. Firm favourite so a must-visit, but must admit I missed the crispy fried wings that I love so much but these were smoky from the BBQ with the sweet heat I love. The smokiness continued into the toasted bao, brisket and even the chipotle had a deep lovely smoke hit.
Now at this point, we had gone far too hard and heavy with the dishes and were only two hours into the festival, with another two to go and very very full. Then the absolute saviours came into view. Sipsmith Gin Taxi to the rescue. Sloe Gin with Bitter Lemon with plenty of ice and a Sipsmith deckchair to reline in, whilst sipping on the refreshing drink and letting the world go by.
Restored and with slightly more pep in our step we carried on our adventures into trying out more dishes on the coloured spreadsheet.
Lina Stores – Burrata Pansoti, Datterini Tomato, Toasted Pinenuts & Basil. A super fresh tomato sauce sat on the golden bed of the most perfect parcels of pasta, filled with the decadent burrata. I don’t know how the filling still had body and not a complete gooey mess but this was just a light pasta dish whilst still feeling indulgent.
Club Gascon – Beef Rib 72 hours Barbecued Short Beef Rib, Seaweed Pearls. Club Gascon never disappoint at Taste of London and again served up a delicious tender and flavoursome beef, then just fell apart. Love the texture of the pearls in contrast to the beef, an all-round perfect dish.
Berenjak – Baklava Ice Cream Sandwich. I love baklava and had to try this dessert when I saw it on the spreadsheet of menus. Not only sweet but still with delicious syrup laced pastry studded with emerald pistachio shards. With a slightly sharp ice cream running through the middle to offset the overall sweetness. With the summer days heating up, this is another dish I want to try my hand to try making at home.
Bar Douro – “Alheira” Smoked Sausage Croquettes. Last dish of the day (except some repeats on our way out!) And they were complete flavour bombs, again I love any croquettes and will always want to try them on the menu. With the Alheira sausage which is made of bread as well as beef and chicken, all the flavourings of paprika and garlic, makes for crazy good croquettes.
So another year and another very full festival of eating around some of the best restaurants that London has on offer. Just can’t wait for the next years festival now!
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