This Thursday, my friend Louisa and I finally got to go to Taste of London. We have always wanted to go ever since we have both been based in London but have never been organised enough to get tickets. This time we told ourselves, we would definitely book them in advance (and so we did!). We went for the standard ticket option which was only £15 pounds, and I have to say that when you actively choose to make the most of all the events going on it is a great deal.
Louisa is (like many of my other friends) a foodie like me, so we were both excited and keen to try all the food, take part in the events and get some festive drinks going. From the get go I tried and was quickly swayed to buy some mulled whisky (it is delicious), and we tactically went round trying samples of different cheeses, drinks and food items. Louisa somehow managed to get a bottle of prosecco for £12 which really got the party going and was an absolute bargain. In hindsight, it was most definitely an error of judgement on the part of the seller. When we went back, we quickly realised the man was not supposed to be selling bottles, gritting his teeth as he awkwardly whispered the managing director was stood behind us and he was about to be lectured. Nevertheless, a personal shout out to the man for getting me tipsy!
The first thing we wanted to do was watch one of the taste theatres which were free of charge. This is where we got the chance to watch famous chefs cook. We sat down sipped at our prosecco and watched Abdul Yaseen, The Chef behind Darbaar, a new Indian restaurant on the scene. Based on an Indian Christmas, he made an aromatic vindaloo curry with an abundance of fragrant spices. The smell radiated around the room, and while we were not allowed to try it (CRY), his restaurant colleague made a minty spiced cocktail to tantalise our taste buds (that is such a cliche saying isn’t it- but it works). It is safe to say I will be visiting the restaurant in the week as it has left me permanently craving a comforting curry.
Next, we obviously had to go round and try some of the festive food that the restaurants had to offer. We tactically scoured the menus and decided on our must try items. (i told you- foodies, everything has to be planned).
We went for:
Wagyu Beef with a Bulgogi sauce and mushrooms from Chi Kitchen, a Contemporary pan-Asian restaurant. £10 – (definitely not real wagyu but it was mouthwatering nonetheless)
BBQ pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy From Kurobuta £6
- Truffle Mac n’ Cheese from Tom’s Kitchen ( Never looks good in photos, so I left this one out – I love truffle though so this was a winner if not a bit too small for £5
- and finally for dessert a tasty Oreo cookie from blondie’s kitchen accompanied with almond milk for accustomary cookie dunking! – There was the option to have malted milk, but Louisa and I don’t particularly like the taste of it) £5
However, I think we would both agree that our favourite part of the night was the live cooking class which were also free of charge and operated on a first come first serve basis. Having got drunker as time went by- we stumbled upon this by pure chance and as the eager beans we are- we made sure to line up 15 minutes before in case anyone dropped out. Our tactic was as follows: people are drinking- drunk people are forgetful- may not show up – we take their place. It turns out, this actually worked.
We managed to get into Jeremy Pang’s School of Wok. We got to make a variety of dishes in half an hour.
These included a warming festive chai tea with spices and condensed milk, a steamed cod fillet with sha cha & sweet soy and festive fried rice (cranberries/pancetta/ Brussel sprouts).
SO GOOD. The staff also kindly went round serving Crispy 5 Spice Crackling which made a perfect accompaniment. It was super fun (and I understand this may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but we loved it) to cook along with the chef and do it all together as a group. We learnt a couple of wok skills, and for our level of tipsiness our food came out pretty amazing.
Overall, Taste of London was a great event and because it was the festive edition it really got me into the spirit of Christmas. One of my favourite things about this time of year is all the events that go on around London, and this was no exception. I loved the food, but I also loved the vibes and all the things there was to do in the space of one evening.
Safe to say, ill be back next year.