Taste of London 2010

It was taste of London 2010 last week at Regent’s Park and I finally got the opportunity to attend after work on a Friday evening session. Unfortunately Friday night it was raining and the evening when England’s goaless draw with Algeria. But we all know that they have made it through to the last 16 after an excellent match on Wednesday against Slovakia. It is now all eyes on them in a few hours when they play with Germany to try to get to the quarter-final.

At the festival I got to watch London’s top chefs doing live cooking demonstrations at the cusine d’amour stand. I saw Antony Worrall Thompson and Jun Tanaka who were both demonstrated how to cook a few dishes and giving as a few tricks of the trade. I learnt that rockets are high classy salad leafs that if you scatter a few on a dish can make it look more expensive (well of course it has to go with the dish you are cooking) and for a restaurant to be able to charge as a few more pounds for it.

My favourite cooking demonstration was Jun Tanaka who is the head chef for Peal restaurant & bar. He also appear occasionally on the TV show Saturday Kitchen. Jun showed as how to cook a few dishes from his cook book, Simple and Sensational. He explained that once you learnt how to change one recipe just by changing one of few key ingredients you can create a lots of different dishes. My top favourite was his lamb casserole and the goat cheese which he wrapped in white sliced bread.

As well as range of live demonstration there were wine tasting, book signing and musical entertainments. But it is not taste of London if we cannot taste the food. So there are stands around the festival where you can sample some of top London restaurants food. All food on the menu are tapas size to allow us to sample as many different dishes from the different restaurants.  In order to sample any of these delicious food you will need to purchase them with crowns. They are like cash, so £1 is worth 2 crowns. 

Awana – For 10 crowns we sampled the satay ayam bungjus roti canai: corn-fed chicken satay wrap in Malaysian bread. The satay sauce was sweet peanut taste and a little spicy. But not too spicy that it is unbearable and you have the salads to balance it out.

Fino – For 14 crowns we sampled Fino’s icon dish – cochifrito suckling pig. I have always wanted to taste Spanish style suckling pig and see the contrast to a Chinese style suckling pig. The verdict is it taste different, the cochifrito suckling pig had the taste of the roasemary and like a roasted pork joint. The only thing that I could not find to bite through was the skin. It was crispy but maybe not as crispy for my teeth to crunch it through that I can do with a Chinese style suckling pig.

Sake No Hana – For 8 crowns we sampled seared tuna and green tea soba salad. Presentation was nice but it is Sake no Hana where a dining experience which does not come cheap even when we went on a toptable offer. However, we did order Wagu beef. As it is Alan Yau there is a no photo policy, so it was good that I could snap our Sake no Hana sample dish at the taste of London.

Min Jiang – For 8 crowns we ordered the legendary wood-fired Beijing duck and 12 crowns got us the diced sauteed gong bao chicken with steamed rice. We wanted to try a London Chinese resturant that is situated in the Royal Garden hotel of the Kensington area and see how good it would be.

The legendary wood-fired beijing duck we had it served with it wrapped around pancake with sweet sauce and vegtable, just like a crispy aromatic duck. Then the diced sauteed gong bao tasted sweet ginery flavour with a hint of spice kick to it from the dried chilli. But really it was not spicy at all.

Theo Randall – For 10 crowns we sampled the cape sante: pan-fried scallops with pancetta, fresh red chilli, parsley and capers served wth lentils di Castelluccio and rockets. This had to be one of the best dish of the evening I tasted. This Italian resturant at the Inter Contiental hotel Park Lane cooked the scallops beautifully so it was not over cooked and presented it beautifully on a scallop shell.

Bentley’s – For 10 crowns we ordered a traditional fish and chips. For a tapas size it was expensive but it was a beautiful fish that was flakey and almost melt in your mouth.

The Grill at The Dorchester – For 12 crowns we ordered the roasted rack of lamb served with slow-cooked cherry tomatoes, baby courgettes and a shallot puree. Another great dish of the evening and love the shallot puree.

Asia de Cuba – For 6 crowns we sampled the Mexican doughnuts with butterscotch sauce and mojito sobert. We needed a dessert to finish it all off and choice Mexican doughnuts.

Although I did miss most of the England match that evening the festival made sure we could catch some of it while dining around the park. Many of us did gathered towards the end of the evening to watch the last few minutes. But as we know it was a disappointing game, it was nothing as good as the one on Wednesday when they played with Slovenia.

I did not go home empty-handed from the festival. As I had 2 crowns left which I could not find anything to buy with. I bought a box of Laudree macaroons as they were happy for us to pay with part crowns and part cash. For a box of 8 and going for a limited edition box it cost me around about £13.50. But then Laudree macaroons are expensive food to buy. They are definitely a luxury food.

Although the weather was not the best that evening but overall it was a great experience. I got to tried variety of dishes from restaurants that I would not ever thinking of going. As I doubt I would get the opportunity to dine at London restaurants in Mayfair or Park Lane, where many situated in hotels.



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