Taste of London 2016 left big shoes to fill.
Good news is Taste of London 2017 does that with ease.
Of course it undoubtedly helps that today was the most gorgeous of days – blazing buttery sunshine and that particular shade of blue sky that only London can deliver – which meant that wandering around Regent’s Park eating glorious food and drinking bubbly fizz from some of the world’s best restaurants was really the perfect way to spend an afternoon but still…big shoes filled.
For 4 days, there are 8 restaurant blocks who become home to 30 of London’s culinary hot spots who’ve set up camp among dozens of exhibitors plying you with everything from pastries to mochi to cheese.
Oh and there’s gin. A whole lotta gin.
Seriously, if you’re part of the soft focus, rose tinted love affair that the entire world is having with gin at the moment, you are gonna be seriously happy at Taste this year. Slightly pickled by the time you leave for sure but pretty damn happy nonetheless. Personally I’d also recommend the English rose sparkling wine at Digby’s as an alternative; light, fizzy and fabulous, it’s a flute of pale pink perfection, ideal for sipping in the summer sun.
Onto the most important bit though – the food. You wanna know where to go and what to try? You’ve got a limited period of time and you don’t wanna be that person sprawled on the sofa hours later, scrolling through social media, nursing a gentle, gin induced head fog and seeing what you should have eaten so kids, listen up.
You’re gonna wanna hit up Neil Rankin’s freaking awesome Temper for the panko bread-crumbed mutton with gochujang and the goat tacos…FYI, super messy but so flipping worth looking like you need your Nan to spit-wipe-tissue your face after for.
Don’t miss Balls & Company for the moreish squid ink arancini & the hot, salty manchego churros or the silky, near translucent pluma iberica with piquillo aioli at Little Jose.
You should make a brave, bold, unstoppable beeline for both the sweet, sherbety pomegranate strewn confit duck kibbeh from Clerkenwell Boy and The Good Egg and the wonderfully fresh & spicy watermelon & masala cashew nut chaat at The Cinnamon Club whilst the surprisingly light courgette & mint arancini from Ember Yard and the squid ink croquettes from Little Jose are also worth a nibble.
Oklava’s baked lamb fat dauphinoise with halloumi, fried egg and sherry vinegar caramel was a real and gorgeously elegant but down & dirty standout however it was a daily special for today so won’t be around again.
Fear not though, the daily specials still to come are pretty awesome – if you go on Friday, I’d head to Bao for the Horlicks ice-cream bun, Saturday would see me running to order everything on the menu at Kricket and Sunday is the perfect day for Perilla’s set strawberry buttermilk.
For desserts, do not miss the gorgeously pretty brownie ice-cream profiteroles with air-light Persian fairy floss at Balls & Company, the sweetly sharp lingonberry ice-cream in fennel cones at Aster and the truly delicious tahini & tonka bean cheesecake cream spectacle with salted caramel, sesame crumble and banana compote from Bala Baya.
There are masterclasses, demonstrations and residencies to choose from and ladies, you’ll be pleased to hear that clean, tidy facilities and cloakrooms are generously scattered around. You can pay by card at some places but pre-paid Taste cards are the easiest way to pay for your hours of feasting and really, do set aside hours for this because you’ll need it.
Get there for the start of your session and stay until they (very politely!) kick you out; if you’re looking for the best example of the finest food in London, if you’re at all unconvinced that we have the most delicious capital city on the globe (though god knows how that could even be possible), if you simply fancy grazing around a corner of one of the prettiest parks in the UK, do not miss Taste this year.