Taste of London 2014

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Last night was the preview of my favourite festival (on until Sunday); Taste of London in Regents Park. The sun was shining, the barbecue smoke was thick and there were plenty of great food to sample.

I’m not sure how I managed to eat as much as I did, but I thoroughly enjoyed most of it so it was completely worth it.

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I started with Roka’s dumplings with black cod, crab and crayfish in a chilli dressing and they were great. The filling could have done with more seasoning because the dressing took over but it was still delicious.

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At Club Gascon I had the truffled crackling duck egg which was absolutely amazing! One of my favourite dishes of the evening. The egg was nice and creamy, the truffle cream underneath absolutely delicious and the crackling gave a good crunch.

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The clam chowder from Avenue was probably the poorest dish I tried. I liked the way it was served in a sourdough roll but it was completely under seasoned…

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Ametsa with Arzak Instruction served different tapas and were really good at inviting people to their stall. I had the most amazing Jamon Iberico – best I’ve ever tasted – with fluffly bread cushions and tomato oil. Simple but excellent produce!

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I had a Po Boy at Bar Boulud; a soft shell crab burger with Harissa mayo and cucumber and mint salad. It looked so nice random people stopped me and asked what it was and where it was from. Great flavours!

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Before it was time for Massimo Bottura to go on stage in the Taste Theatre I caught the last minutes of the chefs at Honey & Co cooking a three course meal. It looked fantastic so I’m dying to try the restaurant and have a look in their cookbook which is being released today.

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I also had a summer truffle risotto from Tartufo which was wonderfully creamy and tasted properly of truffle. I adore truffle and can’t wait to try this restaurant with plenty of truffle dishes on the menu. The tortellini was also very popular!

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I also love burrata and pappa al pomodoro and L’Anima’s version with anchovies was great. Maybe not as amazing as Zucca’s but very close.

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Then it was time for Massimo Bottura (three Michelin star chef and owner of Osteria Francescana) to take the stage. He explained how he came up with the two dishes he was cooking. That he likes to look in the past to create dishes for the future but that he doesn’t look at his grandmother’s cooking with nostalgia because then he would never change anything. Instead he takes the best from the past and creates it into something even better for the future. Massimo was absolutely charming and very passionate about his work – a joy to listen to!

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Him and his sous chef cooked two dishes. One with a sous vide Italian sausage with a biscuit and a zabaione with Lambrusco and a deconstructed lasagne with a ragu with bone marrow but no tomato, thin dried and burnt pasta and a bechamel foam. Four happy people got to sample each dish but sadly I wasn’t one of them.

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Monica Galetti was in the audience and got invited up to stage for some group pictures. Also Nuno Mendes was in the audience and he was one of the lucky ones who got to try the zabaione.

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Before the next thing on my list I had a green tea sundae from Bone Daddies/Flesh & Buns. It was quite good and served with berries, honeycomb and marshmallows. I really like that it wasn’t too sweet.

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I also tried sushi from Sake No Hana which I’ve been wanting to try and their spicy tuna roll was really nice and had a proper kick to it.

IMG_7407Then it was time to listen to Rene Redzepi from the world’s best restaurant at the moment; Noma in Copenhagen. He was also very passionate when he talked about fermentation for half an hour and was surprised time was up when he had finished. 
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The presenter at this Chef Skills Theatre was chef Valentine Warner but it was Rene who did most of the talking.

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We also got to try a real umami bomb that Rene had brought with him, then he showed a video of Lars making the liquid. It was blended grasshoppers that had been fermented for six months. And it was really delicious! Tasted like a very strong soy sauce with a real deep flavour.

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Rene also showed us mouldy rye bread, but with a good white mould. As we were all geeks in the audience he sent it around so we could smell and touch it.

What a great evening!

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