Taste Festivals, as I have now discovered, are worldwide yet the principal is the same throughout. The aim is to bring the best of the what the city has to offer to the general foodie public. When I say worldwide I really mean it, you can find a festival everywhere from Helsinki to Amsterdam, Milano, Roma, Moscow, Melbourne, Sydney, Auckland, Mumbai, Durban, Cape Town, Jo'burg, Dublin and finally London. London even has a Taste of Christmas Festival! I have now decided it is my life aim to spend the year travelling to each festival.
The best restaurants and bars gather, set up shop and offer the punters a sample menu of their best goodies at friendly little prices. The perfect sizes mean you can try as many different dishes as your wallet can handle. I don't include your stomach in this because real dedication to food and tasting means you go that distance and eat EVERYTHING.
The best thing about this is that you get to try dishes from places you have always wished you'd been able to go but haven't. In my case, its not been through lack of trying but more of a lack of a vast bank account. A taste festival is my proverbial heaven.
As well as the restaurant and bar stands there was a plethora of branded stands selling their wares and giving out goodie bags.
As well as eating solidly there was more to the festival. We went to the Kenwood cookery school tent, where they have guest chefs from the restaurants at the festival come and teach classes which you can both participate in and watch. Tilly and I decided to join the Magnolia Bakery class to ice cupcakes.
Tilly was much better at it than me
Look at that concentration
I blame the extreme humidity for my poor attempt, I mean really, how can one ice a cupcake when the icing is practically liquid!!!
The bonus at the end of the class is getting the eat what you've made
We wandered round to the cooking theatre where you can watch demonstrations from chefs.
The humidity finally broke as the heavens opened for a good 5 minutes, luckily just as we ducked into the tent to watch another class.
As the day turned to night, the music from the main stage ramped up and the grounds filled up as everyone finished work and poured in to the festival to start their weekends.
There was such a great atmosphere with everyone standing round drinking and chatting and the smells coming from the stands where heavenly.
We started off slow, sharing a portion of Mac and Cheese from The Gramercy which was a little dish a melty gooey heaven and a good starting off point.
Next up was The China Club with crispy duck pancakes
carved straight from the whole duck
and prawn dumplings.
They were so keen to serve everyone at lightening speed that my first round of dumplings were stone cold. They were quickly changed and I was given fresh hot ones with a few extra thrown in as an apology. The extras made me a very happy camper so The China Club were swiftly forgiven. These were lovely little parcels and the hot dipping sauce really had a decent kick!
We took a break here and wandered over to the Jack Daniels tent where we got a few drinks, sat, chatting and listened to an acoustic set.
I always forget how wonderful it is to sit outside in warm countries and not be all bundled up.
Checking the schedule of events we saw that Jean-Christophe Novelli was teaching a class and as one of the 'headliners' we thought it would be rude to miss it so we wandered back over the watch the master at work.
However we did stop on the way at The Act, a Peruvian stand to sample one of their steak
and the most incredible slow roasted goat served with roasted shallot leaves and drizzled with the
most incredible vinaigrette.
Starting to feel ever so slightly full we watched Novelli work his magic on a dessert
Soon the class was over and after a bit more wandering we decided it was time for one final taster.
We quickly discovered we had saved the best for last.
We ordered up a couple of plates of the The Sky lounge's marinaded Wagu beef with a potato foam. Potato foam is not to my liking at all but the beef was spectacular.
Tilly and Charlie both liked the foam, but I just felt it was a bit like runny smash.
We then dived into spinach and ricotta ravioli in a creamy truffle sauce from Bice.
Oh. My. God.
This was a bowl that I never wanted to end. We scraped every last morsel out of that polystyrene pot. Also sorry about the weird colour, it wasn't actually green.
Charlie and Tilly then skipped off for some dessert. I didnt want to take away the truffely taste in my mouth so I abstained. That and I'd run out of money by this point.
Introducing the Holland mini pancakes, smothered in nutella.
We decided on one last mojito before finally heading home.
Stick down the weekend of the 19-22nd of June in your diary for London in Regents Park.