Taste of London – Food Heaven or Hell?
On paper the idea of taking some of London’s finest restaurants out of the comfort zone of their well equipped kitchens and moving them to Regent’s Park, predominantly outside, for a few days in June, sounds like the plan of a lunatic.
Add in artisan food and drinks producers, show kitchens and cookery schools. And then, once built, keep your fingers firmly crossed that the sun decides to shine. When it does, lunacy becomes genius and Taste of London becomes the darling of the London food scene again.
This year we’ve been fortunate so far. Thursday, when I was invited to visit, was gloriously sunny and yet, not so hot that we all got sunburn. We went along at the invitation of AEG who host a couple of demonstration kitchens at Taste of London and we were fortunate enough to be able to participate in one of the School of Wok cookery events.
And then got to eat what we’d cooked. I’m already a big fan of School of Wok and Jeremy Pang and never cease to be amazed at how effectively his teaching method gets us all using the Wok properly. I’m also impressed at seeing a room of some 50 induction hobs ALL working quickly and effectively.
Of course, having your food cooked for you is very much my style, so I was thrilled to take part in the Celebrity Cruises food and drink matching event.
More so still when I tasted the first of the dishes, two signature spring rolls, paired with Punk IPA. Even I enjoyed this light beer matched to the spring rolls. The idea was to show us how each of the Cruise restaurants showcase a different style of food.
Perfectly prepared lamb loin with a tangy yoghurt dressing was paired with Chateau D’Esclans rose wine from Provence. I was particularly impressed to learn that Celebrity Cruises aim to source and then serve food from their destinations, so what you will be eating should reflect the provenance of the places you are visiting.
After the demonstration and cookery event there somehow didn’t seem enough time left to see round the whole of the show. I know I missed a lot.
But, I was delighted to have a chance to try the food from Palomar, a restaurant that has created waves in the London food scene, but is still on my wish list. It’s moved up a few notches too, after I tried their icon dish hakshukit, a deconstructed kebab of minced beef and lamb with yoghurt, tahini, watercress pesto, tapenade, harissa and a mini pita along with a salmon ceviche with harissa, pomegranate and crushed savoury abadi cookie.
We bumped into a lot of old friends and made a few new friends. I was thrilled to meet Steven Cronk and the team from Mirabeau Wines, because I’m currently reviewing a couple of his Rose wines. And, it was great to see people like Jose Pissaro, Theo Randall and Michel Roux.
This year’s Taste of London did seem to have re-focussed on the London food scene and it did seem to have engaged the movers and shakers in a way that has not always been the case. While there was plenty on offer if you wanted to drink, the emphasis was definitely on the food. I was impressed. If you’d like a quick oversight of what’s hot in London, Taste of London is a great way to get informed and have a lot of fun at the same time.
Taste of London runs until 21 June and at time of publishing there are still tickets available.