Sunday, June 18, 2006

Taste of London

Regents Park

Taste of London was an event held in Regents Park where forty of the capitol's top restaurants set up their stalls allowing you ti sample some of their top dishes. In addition to the restaurants there were plenty of other stalls, demo's by celebrity chefs, cookery lessons and much more.

To sample the food you had to have the event currency, crowns, which you could either buy at the event or order in advance with your tickets.

I worked out that to eat all of the menu items that were suitable for me, as a vegetarian, would cost me around 235 crowns. I had thirty-six, so I had to choose carefully. Most of the choices however, were desserts, there weren't an awful of meat-free main courses so that made it slightly easier.

To start with, I headed towards the Fifteen tent to sample the "creamy risotto of smashed peas, broad beans, mint and ricotta salata." It was a popular dish, which meant about a ten minute wait while they cooked up a couple of batches. It was very nice though - and creamy, as the description said. From there I made my way to Imli, an Indian resturant that offers a modern take on the standard Indian restaurant fayre. They were offering a couple of dishes that were marked suitable for vegetarians (the only ones that I saw marked thus in the whole show - well done Imli.) I selected the "medley of puffed rice, cucmbers and roasted peanuts tossed with assorted tangy chutneys." It was very spicy, and quite tasty. I couldn't have eaten a lot of it, but the portion served was just about right.

So, what next? I fancied something sweet and the "vanilla mille feuille with roasted peaches" from Angela Hartnett at The Connaught fitted the bill perfectly and tasted great.

Passing the Cinnamon Club I noticed that they had a "mango and cardamon brulee" which I just had to try, given my love of brulees. This was certainly different, but very nice reaching a good 8 on the scale.

Finally, I spent the last of my crowns on the "avocado and goats cheese soup" from the Notting Grill tent. As I was slurping it down, Anthony Worrall Thompson walked past. I said hello as he passed and he returned the greeting. The soup wasn't bad - it was a cold soup and I feel it would actually be nicer if it was hot, but it was tasty none the less.

So, that used up all my crowns. During the visit, we also sampled loads of cheeses, dips and sauces, ate an ice cream or two and tried the odd sample of wine. We came away with a few jars of pasta sauce (some of which were given away free) and plenty of leaflets for online shops, cookery courses etc - some of which I may try in the future, so watch this space.

All in all, it was an enjoyable night, the weather was perfect and even British Rail deemed to be on time for that particular night, so getting to and from the event was nice and easy too. Hopefully Taste of London will be repeated next year, so look out for it.

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