Taste of London is upon us yet again. We’ve been every year since 2007 (oh dear, we’re such pigs!). Like Christmas it comes once a year, and like Christmas you start looking forward to it well in advance of the actual due date. Sometimes it disappoints (too many people & bad weather), most of the times it delivers on expectations. We couldn’t care less about the events (if you ask me, they should free up the extra space and invite even more restaurants to participate), but the food…well, that’s a different story all together.
In the early days, when the festival first started it used to be one of the few food festivals around in London. Nowadays there is a food festival every other weekend and Taste of London has to share the spotlight with some other great food festival organisers. We were quite interested in learning how this year’s Taste of London would stack up to previous year’s and as well as how it would compare to some other food festivals that took place this year.
We tried the following restaurants during the Taste of London 2013 festival:
- Babbo: Roasted Chianina beef fillet with peas, broad beans and summer black truffle potato puree
- Barbecoa: Barbecoa burger – Westcombe cheddar, Heirloom tomatoes, Charred red onion
- Bar Boulud: BBQ pulled pork slider
Smoked pork shoulder, red Cabbage slaw, Housemade BBQ sauce, Jalapeño mayonnaise
- Club Gascon: Pine Smoked Lovehearts & Oyster Pearls and Foie Gras & Truffle Burger (5/10)
- Gauthier: Summer Truffle Risotto (10/10)
- L’Anima: Lemon cream, with Chilli jam, & Chocolate ‘biscotto’
- L’autre pied: Ceviche of Hand Dived Scallops with Black Quinoa, Creme Fraiche, Radishes, Fennel & Dill (9.5/10) and Stem Ginger Mousse with Blue berry Compote, Apple, Pistachio & Honeycomb
- Lima: Sea bream Ceviche and Tiger’s Milk
- Maze: Szechuan salt and pepper squid
- Opera Tavern: Ibérico Pork and Foie Gras Burger with Manchego and Guindella
- Roka: Black cod dumpling
- Spice market: Pork Belly Steamed Bun Sriracha, Thai Basil and Mint
- The Savoy Grill: Charcoal grill Dingley Dell pork belly with honey and apple
We have to be honest and while we still think the restaurant offering at Taste of London is still quite appealing it is not as good as for instance FEAST festival. Taste of London tends to go for long-running well known restaurants whereas FEAST chooses newer & more adventurous restaurants. For instance, Taste of London has Gaucho on their panel of restaurants, while FEAST boasts the much better Hawksmoor.
In addition to this, over the years the audience of Taste of London has changed from foodies to snobby foodies who seem to be more interested in being seen and showing off rather than trying out some good food. It is also worth mentioning that the FEAST tends to be much less crowded and is tends to be held indoors (apart from the first FEAST which took place in a parking lot near London Bridge).