Much is written about Taste Festival each year but 2010 was the first time I actually managed to attend. I went on the final day of 4, the Sunday so I was more than prepared, I knew exactly what I wanted and what to avoid thanks to these great posts from Su-Yin, Kang and Niamh.
Regent's Park is breathtakingly beautiful on a summers day, the perfect back drop for the festival and subsequent walk to ease that inevitable full feeling. I'll start with my 3 favourites on the day:
My number 1 dish and the very first thing we tried was the Dinings seared wagyu sushi. The beef was incredible in both flavour and texture, I wasn't sure how exactly it would all come together but the fois gras, the rice, the soy and the wasabi was an incredibly exciting mouthful and a very promising start to the feast. (16 crowns)
2nd on the day was Tristan Welch's spit roast Old Spot suckling pig served with black summer truffles in a brioche bun. I've not managed to dine at Launceston Place yet, definitely on the list, again I wasn't sure about the construction of this dish to begin with, my first mouthful was a bit dry but subsequent bites were masterful and left me wanting more. (10 crowns)
My 3rd favourite dish was Trinity's pig's trotters on poliane served with a fried quail's egg, sauce gribiche and crackling, widely regarded as the dish of the festival. This was all the more sweet because I managed to snag the final portion of the day, it was available between 3-4 only on Sunday but they were all out by 3:30, it doesn't look like much on the plate but I assure you it delivered and lived up to my expectation. (12 crowns)
Chapel Down Sparkling rose and Whitstable Oysters (12 crowns)
Awana Daging rendang. Beef rendang has become one of my most often cooked meals at home and I was keen to try a version from a professional kitchen, this didn't disappoint and was a lighter and more aromatic take on the dish, lovely (10 crowns)
Satay House Ayam goreng bawang putih, super spicy chicken wings from the Taste of Malaysia section (8 crowns)
Waitrose Kitchen chocolate mousse with strawberries, coconut whip and hazelnut crackling (6 crowns)
The not so good:
Fino's cochifrito suckling pig. For me this was the biggest disappointment. The staff at the stand were harangued and unhappy, complaining about how busy they were, and the portion I got (not that pictured above) was mostly bone. (14 crowns)
Gaucho's Argentine black angus sirloin with humitas chimichurri. The beans were marvellous but the steak was a little tough, extra points for the aroma from the grill though, very enticing. (10 crowns)
Trinity's roast belly of middle white pork. I felt this was a bit chewy and not roasted for long enough, fantastic crackling though that stuck in my teeth, in a good way! (10 crowns)
Bentley's fish was light with a great crispy batter but the chips were not good, many of them black. The mushy peas were a bit meh, and I'm usually a fan. I thought this would have benefited from a dousing of vinegar, they had added plenty of salt. (10 crowns)
Tom's Kitchen's eton mess. This was a bit too 'herby,' basil I think and lacking in meringue. Very stingy portion too (6 crowns)
We somehow found ourselves doing a tour of the rum stalls for the rest of the afternoon, sampling shot after shot and nibbling on free samples from the multitude of vendors selling their wares. The festival has a wonderful atmosphere.
250 crowns later (between 2 of us) I left feeling sleepy but happy with a list as long as my arm of venues I am dying to visit for an entire meal. Taste is an expensive treat but as it comes just once a year I'll certainly be splashing out next time around and would recommend it to anyone with even the mildest interest in food and drink.
I attended Taste of London with a press pass but all eats were purchased with my own crowns