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Taste of London


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:smile: evening all

Thanks to the kind generousity of CarolineLD I got to go to the taste of London again.

Thanks Caroline is was lovely meeting you and I hope you found the present you was looking for. :wink:

ok! so here are the photos from the morning session today.

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Allium's Coriander scented tuna tartar. Pretty isn't it? tasted ok too but very small for £4.

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Bank's Foie Gras Meille feuille with beetroot chutney

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Bank's Schezuan belly of pork

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Bank's Scallop and green pea puree. One scallop for £4!!! I got 3 from Roka!!

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Nahm's Chili Soy Chive cakes. :sad: Both Caroline and I thought this was crap that after one bite we binned it. The soy chilli sauce had no chilli flavour. The chive filling was sour with no real distinct flavour, very bland and the pastry was terrible. I think it wasn't made properly as it was powdery!! the pastry should be like a grilled gyoza skin chewy yet non-sticky and definitely not powdery. tut!! tut!!

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Cinnamon Clubs Char grilled guinea fowl with fennel and coriander. Nice flavour but i think it was a little over cooked or is that the normal texture of guinea fowl? :unsure:

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Sketch's Raspberry Macaroon. yummy! :smile: but!! the macaroon as you can see doesn't have a perfect dome or the skirt at the bottom. Its probably the best macaroon in London but no match to La Duree or Pierre Herme in Paris, well they're not called the best for nothing :wink:

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Le Gavroche Pigeon Pie. Looks like a very simply ordinary pie, in fact looks like a jaffle pie from Shepherds Bush and on first bite tasted like any other pie. But then the flavours starts to flow and they are deep and meaty and peppery had a lovely meaty lingering after taste. beautiful. :wub:

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Club Gascon's Foie Gras Oceanic. Foie wrapped in seaweed served with black squid ink bread. Lovely foie and very thin swispy type crackers. Although couldn't detect any seaweed taste or squid taste from the crackers. I asked how the bread was made and was informed it was a normal bagette dough mixed with squid ink and shaved very thinly and baked. Seems like a lot of work to get black crackers :raz:

It was really hot today and felt a little sorry for the kitchen staff working at the fair and also felt sorry for one of the chocolate stands as they had a sign up saying all their chocolate had melted :shock:

Just an observation here, for the 2 hours I was at the fair today I must have walked passed the north side stands 4 or 5 times and every single time I walked passed AWT's Notting grill stand I didn't see a single person buying food from there.

Also BlueBird were giving free samples away.

Draw you own conslusions :wink:

Anyway throughly enjoyed taste of london and look forward to it next year

and maybe even have a stall there myself. :wink:

Edited by origamicrane (log)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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:smile:

so what did you think of the taste of london food fair?

talk about the food!

don't care what you say about it or how you say it but talk about the food!

Edited by origamicrane (log)

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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  • 11 months later...

I'm going to this this year but have a question that the website doesn't seem to address.

All food must be paid for with festival crowns but how much is a crown. Do you get 2 crowns for every £?

I see lots of dishes on the menus are 6-10 crowns - I take it its not 1:1?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I walked past this on my way into work this morning (rush hour for me in london = the calm of regent's park) & I have to say the set up looks very impressive and big.

I'm not very good with crowds (its a bad hearing thing) - is this likely to be mobbed? Is there a better time to go?

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last year's one was actually a very calm affair not packed at all really.

but this year they've been advertising on TV got a feeling it will have a much higher attendance this year.

If you want to go, go today or tomorrow as you can bet that Saturday will be packed.

"so tell me how do you bone a chicken?"

"tastes so good makes you want to slap your mamma!!"

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Friday night last year was quite busy but not massively crowded. It was easy enough to find stands without long queues but some things like the free wine tasting filled up rapidly. This year we thought we'd try for first thing, at the opening of the doors, on Sunday. Hopefully most people will be sleeping in and at least the first hour will be quiet.

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Went Friday (Lunch session: 12pm - 4pm)

Queuing opened about 30 minutes before noon. VIP ticketholder queue let in first, then the rest.

The layout is a large rectangle, with restaurant stalls round the outside and exhibitors in the middle.

Show guides and menu cards (both including a map) were handed out whilst we queued, which was helpful as it kept you occupied and allowed you to choose where to go when the gates opened.

To order food at each "restaurant" you simply go up to the counter, order, and had over your "crowns" in exchange for the food (which appears within about a minute at most).

I started at Tom Aikens with:

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Braised pork belly with chick peas & paprika squid

This was excellent - anybody who has been to his restaurant will know how good he is with meat, getting the texture just right and extracting the maximum flavour.

Followed by (again Tom Aikens):

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Beef shin braised in Guinness with pommes puree & roasted parsnips

Probably my favourite dish of the day - the pommes puree being exceptional.

It would have been rude not to have his dessert as well...

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Mango rice with mango parfait & mango mousse - delightful.

Other dishes I tried were:

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Crab Cocktail (Marcus Wareing at The Savoy Grill) - superb quality crab.

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Pressed tomato mosaic, black olive tapenade, balsamic vinegar (Angela Hartnett at The Connaught)

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King Prawn tortellini, fennel puree, herb vinaigrette (Angela Hartnett at The Connaught)

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Chicken Tikka with Naan bread and mint raita (Benares) - didn't live up to the hype.

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Pumpkin and ginger soup with ginger & toasted pumpkin seeds (Pied à Terre) - a chilled soup, which should have been nice on a hot day but was not to my taste.

Finally a couple of shots of the show itself:

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Note that there's not much seating in front of each "restaurant" (usually one table for 4 to sit at and a couple of small standing tables) although turnover is quick so I could generally find a space when I wanted one.

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Highlights for me: anything by Tom Aikens, the number of chefs in evidence (Tom Aikens, Angela Hartnett, Marcus Wareing, Michel Roux Jr.), the weather, the cheese awards marquee (lots of samples to try - note that if you try the Gruyère start with the youngest!)

Things they could improve for next year: more seating, easier to find toilets.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable experience and well worth the entrance fee.

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We went for the early Sunday session. We got there 1/2 hour before the doors opened, expecting to buy a ticket at the door, and good thing we were early too because they were totally sold out! However, they released an extra 50 tickets and as we were at the front of the ticketless queue, we managed to get in. (If you want to see bigger pictures, please see our gallery.)

We first went for the beer tasting, which was pretty good value, 4 crowns or £2 and you got to taste 5 beers, a bit of food and a free Leffe glass.

We then made a beeline for crispy squid by Zuma, our favourite from last year, and washed that down with a Peruvian beer.

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Next it was watermelon sorbet and chocolate ice cream from Zilli. The chocolate was divine. I was less keen on the watermelon but I am not a massive melon fan. Husband thought it tasted like bubblegum.

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Fino's Chorizo and Tomato Salad. Also very good. This is one you could make at home with hardly any effort. I see the recipe is in Delicious this month.

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Green Papaya Salad and Sticky Rice from Nahm. One of my favourites. Spicy yet cooling! Followed it up with some juicy lychees.

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Lamb Kebab with Saffron Bread from the Cinnamon Club

A very fine textured lamb patty, slightly spicy. Not bad, but not mindblowing. For all I've heard about the Cinnamon Club, I expected more.

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Fennel and Squid Salad from Al Duca. The worst of the bunch. The squid was bitter. Didn't really enjoy this.

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Blackcurrant Jelly and Ice Cream from Canteen. A great finish. Very British. Fantastic combination of textures and flavours.

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After all this, we still had 10 crowns left and we were full, so we bought a ginger beer, some asparagus and went home.

Edited by Sackville (log)
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  • 1 year later...

Shame about the rain (and the unseasonal cold!) and janet street porter's adolescent swearing in her opening speech. I can't believe she's still trying to shock her parents, nor that commissioning editors still fall for it and think it's awfully daring and clever.

I didn't pay to get in but if was a punter I'd be a bit miffed that the entry fee of £21 (?)doesnt actually get me any real food or drink. Another £20 is needed at least.

And being chucked out at 4:30 and required to pay again if you want to come back at 6pm seems rather odd. I understand it's some kind of legal thing.

Some nice nibbles. Gavroche's lobster bisque was just lobster flavoured double cream though. Biggest queues I saw were for Rhodes 24. Lovely scallops at 101. Galvin does a nice sea bream and Benares lamb chops as good as ever. It's a bit of a blur now to be honest.

I guess I over did the wine tasting a bit. :blink:

S

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I'm going on Sunday, although from the weather reports, it looks like I will get rather soggy! I have to say I agree with you Sunbeam, I'm not sure I would have gon had I have had to pay for my tickets either!

If a man makes a statement and a woman is not around to witness it, is he still wrong?

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I've never been because I never perceive it to be good value. Buy 4 small courses at £5 each (or as the website puts it "sample-sized signature dishes for a fraction of restaurant prices") and its cost you £40 and you haven't even had a decent seat, a glass of wine or a drink and cutlery :rolleyes:

Come to think of it for an extra 6 pounds you can have lunch at Le Gavroche including half a bottle of wine, water and coffee. :wacko:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I've never been because I never perceive it to be good value. Buy 4 small courses at £5 each (or as the website puts it "sample-sized signature dishes for a fraction of restaurant prices") and its cost you £40 and you haven't even had a decent seat, a glass of wine or a drink and cutlery

It certainly isn't good value in that respect. Fraction sized dishes at sample prices would be closer to the mark. However it is a way of trying a few things from places you may never get around to going to. There are the fairground attractions - JSP and Ramsay in the F word kitchen, Cucina Caldesi live cooking lessons etc etc.

It's a bit of an industry jolly. I suspect those on free tickets may outnumber those who've paid. I would have thought you could have been among the former Mathew? Probably put the dishes down to exes too? Or am I wrong in thinking you're 'in the business'?

Strange kind of Glastonbury feel to the whole thing - chefs dont arrive by helicopter but you think some of them would dearly like to!

S

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We went on the Sunday afternoon (won two tickets in a Caterer draw), and had no wait to get in or to be served. It might have been more crowded if the weather had been better.

We started with scallops and salmon from One - O - One - very fresh, but the salmon was a little overdone.

Next we had prawn toasts then venison puffs from Yauatcha - haven't been there, but have had the venison puffs at Hakkasan and these were just as good, while my wife found the prawn toasts a revelation.

Next, tender and flavoursome chargrilled duck from Busaba Eathai.

Tandoori lamb chops from Bernares - a full portion there is £24, so we felt that a taster at £5 was decent value.

We drank wines from Green & Blue, from NZ Wine Direct and from Oddbins (their new Oddbins Selection Bordeaux - as The Times' wine critic wrote of E & J Gallo's Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon, "this wine wouild not be worth drinking at any price"), plus champagne from Canard Duchene.

Brilliant cheese selection from I Sapori di Stefano Cavallini (including the magnificently-named "Bastardo").

Sweet chilli ice cream from Purbeck.

The shopping looked good, and there was a home delivery service on offer near the exit.

Overall we spent about £40 and felt that it had been good value, although if we'd paid a further £40 for our tickets perhaps I'd feel less comfortable.

We'd certainly try it again next year.

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This was my second year at Taste of London. Both times the entry price was worth it as an opportunity to sample tasters from lots of restaurants we hadn't been to. As a voluntary experience of being advertised at, it's quite a good one. I recommend buying the premium tickets, as you save a little money on the crowns that way. This time we were a group of three and since we all sampled each others' food, it meant between us we could try even more restaurants.

Between us we sampled dishes from Cinnamon Club, Le Gavroche, Benares, Rhodes 24, Fifteen (longest queue), Café Spice Namaste, Boxwood Café, Tom Aikins, AWT, and Kensington Place.

My favorites: nicely essense-of-tomato white tomato soup from Rhodes 24; amaretti and black cherry Eton mess from Fifteen; gorgeous sticky-sweet beef with extremely smooth mash and parsnip purée from Tom Aikins. The other dishes were generally good too - only one slight disappointment among them all.

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