Taste of London 2012 – The Triumph of Taste over the elements!
Every year Taste of London takes over a corner of Regent’s Park. For food lovers the event is something that has to be tried. It’s a large event and you will probably find, like me, that you run out of time – and that’s simply because there are so many things to see (and so much food to eat!). It’s an excellent chance to get a feel for some of the hottest restaurants in London, taste some new wines and beers and just generally have a great foodie experience. Now, if only the Sponsors, British Airways COULD control the airways a bit better so that it didn’t rain!
Firstly there are exhibitors. Some of the leading UK food companies are there showing their wares and encouraging you to taste and buy. And, there are also International areas. This year, the Taste of Greece and Taste of Thailand areas both had some fabulous offering – with music and dance to keep you entertained. Having just been to Mazi, I was particularly keen to try the Masthika cookies on offer and loved Greek Aromatic Herbs of Peloponnese Mountains – huge bunches and bowls of fragrant herbs (I have a little sample of oregano to try at home as well as a great fact sheet). There’s an area where you can try a range of wines and champagnes – I’d recommend the champagne tasting experience for a great chance to try four different champagne and learn a bit about the differences.
Then there are the demonstration theatres. You can have a lesson in Asian Street food from Angela Malik or learn how to barbeque perfectly from the Weber Barbeque Academy. I’ve been lucky enough to do classes at both and really recommend you try if you get the chance. I haven’t tried the San Pellegrino Trilogy Masterclass but friends of mine have strongly recommended it.
Finally, there are the restaurant stands – perhaps what Taste of London is best known for. Where else can you find around forty of London’s leading restaurants in one place. It’s impossible to get around all of them to sample a dish, you might just explode if you tried. BUT, this does give you a chance to get an understanding of the food they offer, and in many cases to meet the Founders and Executive Chefs. I was delighted to find quite a few newcomers this year, including the Savoy and Savoy Grill (I haven’t been there since the refurbishment a few years back), Bar Boulud and Pollen Street Social (both personal favourites) and The Corner Room, Nuno Mendes’ latest venture. Now the only reason I haven’t made it over to sister restaurant, Viajante is that I’m just a little bit lazy and there are some excellent places in West London still to try (and more opening every day). Having tried a fabulous Seabass Ceviche, Cod Porridge and Iberico Presa the Corner Room and/or Viajante has now queue jumped my personal wishlist.
In the end I had eaten so much that I went on a photo opportunity tour. My award for prettiest desserts went to Yauatcha and for stylish food and elegant service to Benares (( REALLY wish I’d had space for their exquisite lamb dish!). Friendliest place to hang out for me had to be the Young’s tent where you could sample and get an understanding of their beers and where some really rather excellent pub grub was on offer (if you still needed to eat!).
In short, an excellent afternoon where our four hour timeslot was barely enough to get around the stands and where I sampled some great food, despite the makeshift kitchens-in-a-park and the really very BRITISH weather
You can buy tickets online from the Taste of London site and the event runs until 24 June.