Taste of London is an event held twice a year, in London, and is widely regarded to be the food festival of choice for foodies offering an insight into some of the capital’s most popular restaurants.
Needless to say, for us, it was an event not to be missed!
This year’s event was held in Regent’s Park where some of the well-known restaurants from across the city had set up their stall. Bao, Bubbledogs, Cinnamon Bazaar, Freak Scene and Bombay Bustle were all amongst the offerings this year.
The idea is that the restaurants produce three to five dishes they call ‘signature dishes’ to showcase what their restaurant is all about. Their dishes are usually always smaller taster sized portions and are priced from £4 to £8, and then up to £12 if paired with a 50mm glass of wine. So far so good…pass the stretchy pants!
For us it’s good to go and see what is popular on the restaurant menus and which dishes they consider ‘signature’. It’s a good way for us to spot trends in flavour profiles, cooking techniques and ingredients. It gives us a flavour for what’s hot and gives us some food for thought for our development kitchen. This year there was some really good dishes that we tried, some of, as well as some disappointing ones.
Action Against Hunger is the festival’s charity partner each year running a restaurant and proceeds going to their causes. Each year five celebrity chefs go head-to-head to create a unique version of a dish, this year that was spring rolls – and so of course we HAD to try them!
Spring rolls recipes were provided from Asma Khan, Chantelle Nicholson, Rosie Birkett, Selin Kiazim and Zoe Adjonyoh covering all cuisines from Moroccan-inspired spiced beef with feta and muhammara dressing to a Bengali spicy potato with tomato chutney. The competition really was tough, but our clear favourite was Chantelle Nicholson’s truffled pea and caramelised onion spring roll.
We loved the peking duck tart from Duddell’s, it really was delicious and with such strong flavours it still managed to be fresh. Another worthy mention is Rohit’s Kitchen who managed to deliver a well-balanced combination of sweet, sour and spice from their Bambaiya vada pao or potato bun.
We could talk for hours, but here’s a recipe inspired by one of the dishes from Taste:
Tasty Tater Tots
• 200g shredded or finely diced potato
• 300g chilled mashed potato (left over or shop bought is fine)
• 25g corn flour
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1tsp salt
In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients until well combined. Take a small amounts and shape in to ‘small cylindrical pellets’ (colleagues here have suggested this is the shape of a nerf gun pellet!) of about 1 heaped teaspoon. This mix should make about 30 tater tots. Then deep fry (in batches) for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.
The example from Taste was then dusted with Japanese spices but we think these would be perfect rolled in a little butter (in a hot pan) and combined with a little fresh parsley.