Taste of London 2011

Photo credit: Taste of London
Taste of London is currently on here in London town, giving foodies an opportunity to come out and experience haute cuisine at its best. The festival, which started on Thursday, is being held in the ever beautiful Regent's Park, which was fabulous, except for one small problem.

The weather. I had been hoping all week that the rains would cease and not derail my foodie hopes and excitement. But alas, the rains still came. However, despite the rain and the extremely muddy conditions, we had a blast.

I was fortunate enough to snag freebies for this event, and my fellow foodie, Nic and I were off - boots on feet, brollies in hand. One was definitely spoilt for choice, with a wide array of Michelin-starred restaurants on site preparing and serving fantastic samples of their award winning menus. Student life of course, does not afford me these luxuries so this was a real treat! With festival currency (crowns) in hand, I was off - hungry and excited.

Clear winners included the Churrasco de Lomo and corn temoles from Gaucho, the erotic decadence of Malaysia Kitchen's Chicken Curry, as well as the fried dim sum platter from Yauatacha. I also tried the Chicken Tikka pie from Benares, after reading great tweet reviews, but sadly my crust was a bit burnt.

Chicken Curry from Malaysia Kitchen at Taste of London 2011

Chicken Tikka Pie with Berry Compote from Benares at Taste of London 2011

I cannot even remember some of the other things I had and from where, though truffle risotto comes to mind, not to mention the wide assortment of wines, cocktails and desserts - including gelato, sinful tarts and cakes and an assortment of cheeses.

Yummy desserts at Taste of London 2011

Nic's Espresso Martini and my Mai Tai at Taste of London 2011

I tried to get into the masterclasses to actually get my apron on and work in the kitchen alongside master chefs but this proved to be the expectation of hundreds of other people as well, so I could only look on as some of the patrons joined the cooking classes, learning from the best. I did, however, manage to pick up a tip or two from the sidelines.

I also had to support the island crew, and kudos to the Barbados booth for the amazing seared tuna and great hospitality. Barbados went full hundred with their presentation, as they should have. And this leads me to...

Of course, this blog entry would be incomplete if I did not mention the Trinidad and Tobago booth. I was expecting the premium chocolate from the Tobago Cocoa Estate but instead got Angostura, with their rum punch and assortment of rums, and... cassava pone. That was it. While the team explained that this was the first year and they were "testing the waters", I still felt a bit let down by the offerings. In terms of culinary wonders, we have soooo much to offer, with some amazing culinary talent, and the best we could do was a bite-sized piece of pone? I think if one cannot do something well, one should not do it at all.

The rain, mud and the thick throng of people trying to get to and from the booths were the only issues I had today. There were so many people, even with the threat and eventually, the heavy showers of rain. As a result, I could not fully enjoy a lot of the taste experiences as the crowds were a turn off and a real physical obstacle to getting close to a lot of the food. Oversubscribed?

The weather, in general, held up better than I expected, especially after the forecast mentioned hail. I kid you not - summer HAIL. We did have some brief moments of heavy showers and blustery winds which made the uncovered areas a virtual mudpit, but still, everyone was enjoying the day. And as my girlfriend said, if Londoners still cannot come to terms that their summer lasts a week and still insist on going out to areas prone to muddiness in flip flops and heels, then they deserve all the mud caked on their toes and feet at the end. I mean, wow - I saw one lady in a maxi dress that was way past floor length and the hem was a brown muddy nightmare. Really?

My own shoes - well, I will be cleaning them out in the backyard, that's for sure.

Ugh. Muddy boots are not cute.

But my first Taste of London was splendid. I had an amazing time, got to taste some truly fantastic food (and drinks...lots of drinks!!) and got to meet some great people, have some laughs and shake off the funk that had been following me all week. Good times, friends. Good times! Thank you, British Airways for an amazing time!

6 comments:

  1. wow, those foods look delicious.. thank you for sharing!

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  2. YUM. Someone would have to roll me home after an event like this!

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  3. Love/LOVE London anyway! Finding great food in London always a plus. Fun post!

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  4. YUM!!! everything looks delish .. the cheese cake and esspresso martini's .. how can one go wrong!!!

    Strawberry daiquiris are also a fav summer time beverage around here... xo HHL

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  5. Great festival despite the rain, mud and crowds! All the islands did very well as first timers I must say, namely T&T and not to mention Jamaica! I went to all their booths and they were all supportive of each other and were hospitable. Those spicey peppered tamarind balls from Trini Chef Hasan were interesting along with the coconut and cassava treats! The Bajan spiced lentil and seared tuna was nice, but most of all I enjoyed the food from Jamaica's booths. WOW, they offered a variety and I tried their ackee and yam balls ,jerk chicken and bammy and coffee cake from Chef Collin Brown. I also had a few prawn samples from Chefs Blunos, Richards and Matthews' demos. The food had me in awe! Kudos to the Caribbean, refreshing addition to the festival!
    -x X from St. Kitts

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