I bagged myself tickets for the opening night to Taste of London 2014. I had been the previous year so was very excited as to what this year had in store. My husband, John, and I went straight from work, so it was a highly appreciated date night for us too.
It was a gorgeous sunny evening. We arrived at 5:30, as it officially opened. Last year we had queued eagerly to be at the front so we could get our names down to cook along with Tom Kitchin. This year we just concentrated on the food. 50 crowns in hand and a previously highlighted menu at the ready we were ready for a Taste of London experience.
So the first stand we came across was Andre Garrett at Cliveden House. Here we sampled the Malt glazed pig cheek, creamed potato. It was delicious, such a generous portion and a great way to kick off our experience. This stall got a second visit for the Peanut butter parfait, salted caramel, raspberry. This was definitely a sharing dessert it was so rich and again the portion was huge, for us anything with peanut butter is a winner.
Conveniently next door was Shake Shack. John has been on about this place for ages so it was great to finally get to sample their wares. Presented was a perfect looking lil’ shack burger along with a pair of cool shades and a sweat band. I do love a freebie!
Next was the dish which was later awarded Best of Taste, the Croque Gascon from Club Gascon. Crispy Barbecued foie gras, an obvious winner! I found this dish quite rich and the portion of foie gras was huge! My husband wolfed down what I couldn’t manage. Our tummies were now getting quite full so we decided to share dishes. I don’t know why we didn’t think of that sooner. This was definitely a case of our eyes were too big for our bellies.
I wandered to Assado, whilst my Husband queued at MEATliquor. I chose the Beetroot, vegetable and coconut puff. It looked like a pasty when presented not at all how I had imagined, but it tasted great and had a very pleasing kick to it, the lady serving was very welcoming and relaxed.
MEATliquor, this had the biggest queue of all the stalls. My Husband bought the Double bubble cheeseburger slider, I queued up later in the evening and I purchased the monkey fingers. It was a fantastic burger and I can see why there is so much hype about MEATLiquour. The monkey fingers, which were basically boneless wings in hot sauce, were great too but they’ve absolutely nailed it with their burgers. We will definitely be visiting a MEATLiquour branch very soon.
I was flagging at this point and relaxed with a Blackberry and Elderflower Pimms.
John was still participating in the food marathon and his next dish was a Classic Summer Truffle Risotto – Parmesan, chicken jus from Tartufo. This was really tasty and very morish. The truffle bubble on the counter was very impressive. A return trip was later made to this stand for The Original L.A. Butterscotch Budino with caramel sauce and whipped cream, another stunning dish equally as delicious as the risotto.
I had my fill of savories and now wanted to have some desserts. My first choice was the Bleeding heart stand for the strawberry macaroon heart. This stand also had an impressive queue. I had seen pictures of this dish on twitter and was excited to try it. It tasted of Eton mess and it was the prettiest dessert of the night I felt happy devouring it.
Back to shake shack to sample their famous frozen custard, Fromage Blanc Strawberry Swirl
John checked out the Avenue stand to try the Mac & Cheese crisps: breaded, smoked tomato sauce
The last dish of the evening was Flesh & Buns Roasted pork belly mustard miso & pickled green apple (steamed bun). This was so good. Even though we were so full we could have easily eaten one each of these delicious buns.
Well we were out of crowns and our bellies were out of room and had to relieve the baby sitters.
We had a fantastic evening and saw a few famous faces as we walked around. It was great to see Michel Roux Jr greeting fans at the Le Gavroche stand, we also spotted Neil Rankin, Russell Norman and Gizzy Erskine. I am such a fan of this festival, it’s a great way for the restaurants to showcase their talented chefs and amazing dishes. I was pleased to have gone on the opening night but then jealous of all the tweets over the weekend and it made me want to return. I do love Taste of London, but now my ever expanding bucket list has expanded even further! Roll on Taste of Winter 2014.