TASTE OF LONDON | 2017

“Doing what you love is freedom…Loving what you do is happiness!”

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A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending Taste of London 2017 which was held in the beautifully lush gardens of regents park.Taking place on some of the hottest days London has ever seen, it was just the perfect time for me to experience Taste in its entirety.

Taste is an amazing showcase of the greatest chefs and restaurants specifically targeted to its location. Exhibiting the countries most incredible talent and seasonal ingredients, Taste is a great place visit whether you’re an experienced chef or just appreciate great food.

“…Its honest food, no gimmicks, just great flavour…”

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Taste of London happens twice a year, its first being a large event in midst of summer and another festive even, mid November.

I love dining at a new restaurants and being on the receiving end of delectable food is such a privilege, but working in a kitchen means there just isn’t enough hours in the day. Being able to visit London’s most talked about restaurants in one day as well as meet some of London’s greatest chefs was an opportunity I just couldn’t miss.

The Duck and waffle,Under executive chef Dan Doherty, has been a favourite spot of mine and having just opened its sister branch D&W Local in Piccadilly I knew i had to see what their stall held. The buzz surrounding their pop-up was just amazing, people elbow deep in mini duck burgers and chomping away at jewelled waffle cones.To my surprise dan was at the pass, plating up dishes and delegating like any great chef should. I had to try their muni duck burger atop a dinky little waffle garnished with a  miso slaw and crispy ramen ( yes, you read that correctly). I was a little sceptical but in true duck and waffle fashion, the flavours seamlessly married together creating the most succulent juicy bite finished with the crunchy ramen. I’d be lying if i said I’ve never tasted uncooked ramen before but it didn’t have that chalky dryness you’d expect, it was crisp and had most likely been blanched and dehydrated, removing any excess starch.

“…Forget your unicorn milkshakes, black will always be the new black!”

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IMG_7730“…With flavours varying from Colombian cacao and an Essex sea  salted caramel, its clear they have an acute taste for good flavour…”

A few stalls down resided another restaurant that has really come to life in recent years and created a name for itself alongside some on London’s greatest. Roka has five branches in London, one being in Mayfair a stones throw from where I work but I’m yet to visit. Specialising in breathtaking Japanese robatayaki cuisine ( open coal barbecue ) Roka is a great place to enjoy an outstanding pan asian meal without the formality most Mayfair eateries require. Its honest food, no gimmicks, just great flavour. Every time i hear Roka mentioned, talk of their famous rock shrimp tempura is not far, so I knew i had to finally try it. I received the most beautifully seasoned juicy prawns adorned in a light crisp tempura, dotted with a tongue tickling wasabi chilli mayonnaise. Unequivocally the best tempura i’d ever tasted.

“…it would undoubtably be both incredible and unfair…”

Another star of Taste 2017 was the quaint little Jude’s ice-cream. Ice cream has completely taken over social media recently, wether it be scooped into a giant glass topped with candy floss and a kilo of sweets or cute little bubble waffles with oozing matcha spheres. Jude’s ice cream is delightfully neither of those. With over 40 great taste awards for their delicious flavours, Jude’s has come a long way from the hand churned ice creams of their local Hampshire barn. With flavours varying from Colombian cacao and an Essex sea salted caramel, its clear they have an acute taste for good flavour.IMG_7764

I had to try their famous black coconut ice cream.Blackened with coconut ash, with a subtle creamy coconut flavour, forget your unicorn milkshakes, black will always be the new black! Since tasting Jude’s black scoop I have seen quite a few ice-cream parlours introduce their own take on black ice cream to attract all the budding Instagrammers!

My V.I.P taste pass gave me access to a really grande Laurent Perrier champagne tent and after downing a few glass of fizz, I set off again on the hunt for some more great food.

Whilst on the hunt for more deliciousness I came across an open style kitchen as Dan Doherty was due to take centre stage. Joined by the colourful, loud and vibrant great British menu judge Andi Oliver, it was just like sitting in the kitchen while your mum’s cooking. He demonstrated a fresh Yemeni chickpea and zhoug dish and each table attempted to make a sauce to finish his dish. I refused to lead in making the sauce as it would undoubtably be both incredible and unfair but coaching the reluctant lady who volunteered as tribute meant that we won anyway!

It was a great day in the sun, enjoying the other side to the industry I have willingly become a slave to and a great opportunity to network which i took full advantage of.

I’ve already booked my V.I.P tickets for November’s festive edition as the only thing more amazing than food, is Christmas food!

“I’ll be the one neck-deep in stuffing, dodging anything cinnamon filled like the plague!”

 

 

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