So, you’re off to Taste of London. 4 hours and some of Londons finest restaurants, best producers, and some very fine booze. Just how will you manage?! Here’s my top tips for your trip and the ones that I plan to visit when I hit there later today again.
Head to Trinity for the dish of the festival, selected on Thursday by a group of judges – Pigs Trotters on Toasted Pain Poilane, Fried Quail Egg, Sauce Gribiche and Crackling. A terrific dish, and one that I have sampled at the restaurant, I couldn’t resist it again. Trinity were selling the crackling at £1 a stick on Thursday, and on the quiestest day of the festival, sold 1,000 sticks. You know you’ve got to go.
I also tried their Chargrilled Asparagus, Fried Pheasants Egg and Truffled Homemade Ricotta. Well, it wouldn’t be Trinity if there wasn’t truffle in there, and this was fantastic. I loved the gentle texture and earthy aromas of the truffled ricotta, and dipped the lime green asparagus sticks in there, dragging them through the pheasant yolk before devouring. Delicious! I finished up with a dessert of Homemade Vanilla Yoghurt, English Cherries & Almond Crumb. Creamy and light, fruity with the nutty crumb to finish, it would make a great breakfast too. While you’re there, get Adam to sign a copy of his great new book “How to Eat In”.
Next door is Francesco Mazzei’s L’Anima, one of Londons finest Italian restaurants. I tried the Sardinian Fregola with Seafood Bottarga and Lemon. There were some clams in there too, and this delicious dish spoke of the sea and the fields near it. It’s not easy to find a fregola dish in London, and this is superb, so do try it. There was also a Smoked Purple Aubergine with Burrata with Basil & Chilli Jam which looked terrific and which I plan to try later today.
Action Against Hunger Pop-Up
Actiona Against Hunger are running a pop-up restaurant at Taste. SImon Rogan from L’Enclume was there Thursday, and yesterday I sampled the delights of Valentine Warner, a gorgeous Grilled Roe Deer Sandwich with Tarragon Dressing. It was excellent, the tender delicious warm roe deer encased in toasted sourdough with the fragrant tarragon enveloping. Do check it out today when Paul Merrett will be cooking.
Taste of Barbados
Tuna with lentils, panacotta with plantain, and it’s FREE! Also lovely cocktails for only 6 crowns a pop. The chefs have been flown over from some of the finest restaurants Barbados has to offer. It’s a must.
Chapel Down Wines & Oysters
Pop over to Chapel Down and try one of their terrific English wines, I love the sparkling, and have some of the oysters. It’s something I do at every Taste of London, I recommend you do too!
With possibly the prettiest stand, and some great English sparkling wine to boot, save some of your crowns for a glass of award winning Nyetimber. A little more expensive, but worth every penny. Try the Forman’s London Cure Salmon with it, a light smoked salmon, which almost has a sashimi like quality to it. Very good indeed.
Artisan distillery Sipsmith from Hammersmith in London, are dishing up G&T’s made with their fantastic gin. It’s a great product, a great drink, and they’re great fun to boot.Try their vodka too.
O:TU Sauvignon Blanc
From Marlborough, O:TU has a Sauvignon Blanc and a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc. It’s got lots of character and body and stands apart from the more familiar limey Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough. Buy it by the glass, or the carafe, or order some to be delivered home.
Clonakilty Black Pudding
Promise me that you will visit Clonakilty Pudding folks to try their gorgeous black and white puddings and the Irish ispíní that I write about all the time. They’re fantastic and use recipes that have been handed down through the generations.
Bea’s Of Bloomsbury
I had a bite of a friends Bea’s of Bloomsbury’s cupcake, and well, it’s not your common or garden cupcake, but a flavoursome moist cake with a beautiful fruity cream topping. I loved it, and I will be going back and checking out her shop in Bloomsbury.
David’s Chilli Oil
My favourite chilli oil, David sells only this. It’s not cheap at £10 a jar but it’s amazing, and it lasts forever. His recipe is based on his childhood eating experiences in Asia. The umami hit comes from black beans – whatever he has done with them! Try it.
Isle of Wight Garlic Farm
Fresh garlic, elephant garlic, lots of garlic products. It’s great! I have a bag of fresh garlic now. I am sure that my colleagues will thank me for it on Monday.
Ones I didn’t try but plan to are: Le Gavroche, Odettes, Salt Yard, Fino & Launceston Place. More info on those soon.