If there’s one thing that signifies the coming of Summer to the city it’s when London’s best restaurants, bars and favourite foodie brands descend on Regent’s Park for the annual Taste of London festival.
This year was an absolute scorcher, but thankfully, armed with an array of delicious and refreshing cocktails and our food guide, we managed to munch our way around the festival. Today I’ll be taking a look back at some of my highlights from the festival: a selection of restaurants and brands that I either loved before or am now desperate to try following a little sample of their wares.
Truffle Shuffle with Champagne (£9). This was a miniature twist on Bubbledog’s signature Mac Daddy hotdog, topped with truffled mac and cheese and a delightfully crispy bacon crumb, served alongside a little helping of Bubbledog’s rosé champagne.I’ve never been to the original Bloomsbury location but, with its dizzying array of Champagnes available (many served by the glass from as little as £6), a huge array of hot dog toppings and weird and wonderful offerings by guest chefs, I’m adding it to my list!70 Charlotte Street, London, W1T 4QG
Duck & Waffle (£12). A fluffy, freshly cooked waffle, topped with confit duck leg, fried duck egg and lashings of mustard maple syrup, this can be none other than the infamous Duck and WaffleDuck and Waffle has long been a staple brunch spot that I have recommended to fellow Londoners and visitors alike. For reliably delicious food, complete with unparalleled views across the City of London and Tower Bridge, Duck and Waffle always delivers. Their new local offering therefore intrigued me. Open until midnight, the no-reservations-allowed Piccadilly spot offers both eat in and take away options, including many of the dishes that made the original famous such as thefoie gras crème brûlée and the Duck and Waffle itself.52 Haymarket, St. James’s, London SW1Y 4RP
Duck foie gras doughnut with spicy dip (£7). This quirky offering from the Michelin Starred Club Gascon was as unusual as it was moreish, combining a warm, deep fried doughnut, with a silky foie gras centre that truly came alive when dipped in the spicy sauce that accompanied it. My boyfriend and I shared three little bites, but could have easily polished off more.Offering a six course tasting menu for £80, Club Gascon will now definitely be featuring on my radar when I’m next in need of a night of indulgence.57 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9DS
5J Pluma Ibérico, Piquillo aioli (£10).
Ever since visiting Pizarro in Bermondsey a few years ago I’ve had a love of all things José Pizarro. His latest offering is a foray into street food in Canary Wharf’s Giant Robot, offering tapas and bocadillos, which, if its anything like his other offerings I’m sure will absolutely deliver.
Kuro Angus rib to yuzu shiro tamanegi (£7) and Kankoku fu kohitsuji (£10). If theres one thing that’s sure to please on a sunny London day, its barbecue food. A far leap from the undercooked sausages and overcooked chicken that exemplify so many British barbecues, Roka took things to the next level. The Black Angus beef rib was juicy and tender, with a scrumptious but not overpowering gingery barbecue glaze. The lamb cutlets were spicy, pleasantly charred and overall unbelievably deliciousThe restaurant itself uses Robatas to prepare similar barbecue style Japanese food, as well as offering tasting menus and a large selection of sushi and sashimi.37 Charlotte St, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1RR
Truffled siu mai (£3). This delicious little dumpling was absolutely packed full of prawn and pork stuffing. Though small, the dish was full of flavour and I could have easily had another!This delicious morsel has got me very excited to visit Duddell’s, but I may have to wait until Autumn to get a taste. The popular two Michelin Starred Hong Kong restaurant is due to open a branch in London later this year.
6 St Thomas Street, Southwark, London SE1 9RY
Pots & Co have long been a favourite of mine for a cheeky weeknight dessert, so when I saw they were at Taste I had to pop over to their stall to get a little taste of some of their best flavours. For chocolate fiends like myself I can’t recommend the Salted Caramel & Chocolate Pot or Chocolate Fudge Pudding enough, but if you’re in the mood for something a tad lighter then the Lemon & Lime Posset always hits the spot.Available in Waitrose, Whole Foods, Tesco and Others
I’m a sucker for all things kitsch and moderately tiki themed, so as soon as I saw people wandering around Regent’s Park with cocktail filled pineapples, I had to seek out where they had come from. I opted for a piña colada, which was delicious and refreshing, with a pleasantly spicy hit of rum.
Pimm’s may be the most popular choice of beverage during the English Summertime, but in my somewhat controversial opinion, Sipsmith’s London Cup beats Pimm’s as the best summer tipple. London Cup takes London dry gin and infuses it with earl grey and botanicals such as borage and lemon verbena, resulting in a drink that is fruity, but not overly sweet. To make your own it couldn’t be simpler, for one cup just top up a double shot (50ml) of London Cup with lemonadeAvailable in many supermarkets
2011 Blanc de BlancsI love trying English wines, particularly of the sparkling variety and have long been a huge fan of Nyetimber’s Classic Cuvée. I had never tried a Hattingley Valley wine before. This sparkling wine from the Hampshire based vineyard was delicious, crisp and fruity; perfect for the sunny day we were treated to.Available at Waitrose and online
Taste is a fabulous day out that has opened my eyes to new products as well as expanded my ever-growing list of must visit London restaurants and I would absolutely recommend it as a fabulous day out – come rain or shine!
Early Bird tickets are now open for Taste of London: The Festive Edition!
Love, Sophia x