Tuesday, June 21, 2011

London Taste Festival 2011

The sporting events of Royal Ascot, Wimbeldon, and Henley Royal Regatta traditionally kick off the summer festivities in and around London. Wait. Summer? What summer? I think we skipped summer and went straight to fall – seriously it has been cold and rainy over the past few weeks. For now, the trusty green Hunter “wellies” will stay out…unless summer comes around.
Last Saturday afternoon, Keenan and I braved the rain and went up to Regents Park for the annual Taste of London Festival which is always a favourite summertime event for serious foodies. The Taste Festival features sample-sized signature dishes ranging from French, Indian, Chinese, and Italian from over 40 of London’s best restaurants including Yauatcha, Benares, L’anima, Bocca de Lupo, Petrus, Maze, Barrafina, The Modern Pantry, just to name a few. As if noshing on delectable treats wasn’t enough, the festival also had over 200 vendors selling everything from chocolates, chilis, chutneys, olive oil, and jams in addition to the Taste Chef’s Theatre, live music, and several master classes. 

With over 80 Crowns (the official “currency” of the Taste Festival) in hand, Keenan and I were ready for an afternoon of eating and sipping wine under the sun (rain). Here’s a sampling of what we treated our taste buds to during our afternoon at Regents Park: 

Satay @ the Malaysia Kitchen (top photo), followed by Dim Sum Platter @ Yauatcha; then 3 Fried Balls @ Bocca de Lupo (middle photo); and  Tandoori Salmon @ The Cinnamon Club. By mid-afternoon, it was pouring! We took refuge under a beer garden and ordered Two Kozel Beer (Czech Lager). Then it was back to eating, this time to Malabar Fish Curry @ Tamarind; and Scallop Tartar @ L’Etranger (bottom photo); and sampling at a bunch of different vendors. 

We also attended the Estrella Damm Beer and Tapas Masterclass with Chef Omar Allibhoy of Tapas Revolution where we sampled several tasty tapas all washed down with a complimentary pint of Estrella beer.

We also enjoyed the San Pellegrino Trilogy Masterclass with Neil Phillips where we did a tasting/pairing of food, wine, and water. We did a tasting/pairing of three wines: an Australian Viognier paired with crab; a Malbec from Argentina with aged parmesan, and a Muscat from Lake County, CA paired with chocolate dessert. Each tasting/pairing of food and wine was conducted twice: once with San Pellegrino (sparkling water) and the second with Acqua Panna (flat water) to prove a point that the choice of water during a fine meal makes all the difference. It was actually a fun and entertaining class! My only regret was not being able to participate in the Waitrose Cookery School. Something to keep in mind for next year…