June seemed to be particularly exciting this year, with even more rooftop parties, outdoor pop-ups and food festivals bombarding my Instagram feed than ever before. And this year, there’s one particular food festival I was looking forward to: Taste of London.
Taste of London, one of the world’s best restaurant festivals, returned to the gorgeous Regents Park for a brief 5 days, just in time to catch the heatwave and jugs of Pimms. It’s a collection of the best restaurants in the capital, along with many exhibitors showcasing their proudest creations.
We visited during the lunch service (12:00 – 16:00) on a weekday, and were surprised by the mass numbers of people and stores around, all gathered on the lush green grass.
After a quick study of the restaurant list, we secured our first target: Duck and Waffle Local. We went for The Duck Burger, one of their signatures at their new restaurant near Piccadilly Circus.
The palm-sized burger packed more deliciousness than anywhere else: a juicy duck patty, Asian slaw, miso plus a odd but exciting crunch from the crushed instant ramen noodles.
Our burger was still half-eaten when we spotted xiao long baos from Dumplings’ Legend next door – thanks to our love for dumplings. The skin was a bit too thick and doughy but still tasted lovely. Other dishes on offer were their slow cooked pork belly and Leong’s beer chicken.
Our third stop was to Pirates Grog to taste their award-winning aged rum! (And thank you for inviting us!) I loved their espresso rumtini, which featured their new coffee rum liqueur (imagine Baileys without the cream and a thicker body); the raspberry daiquiri was a refreshing retreat.
We were walking off the warmth in our throat from the rum when we spotted our favourite patisserie: Pierre Herme! They are the only restaurant to offer a complete dessert menu, and we just couldn’t miss anything they had on offer!
For macarons, we had both their classic assortment (rose & rose petals, salted butter caramel, pure origin Brazilian dark chocolate) and signature assortment (mint & garden peas, passion fruit, rhubarb & strawberry, meadowsweet & Corsican honey). Trying both their Ispahan sorbet and pistachio ice cream was not a question.
6 macarons and 2 ice creams were a bit too much sugar for one go, so we balanced it out with a portion of Roka’s black Angus beef rib, perfectly smokey from the grill with a appetising spoon of braised onions and a sweet, sticky sauce.
On top of #TasteofLondon , 20 restaurants also offered a #TasteTheWorld dish, with one of them being the duck foie gras mi-cuit with beetroot jelly from Les 110 de Taillevent, a brasserie-style restaurant serving modern French cuisine in Marylebone. The dish was beautifully plated, the foie gras so rich and indulgent, shouting for a glass of good wine.
We hunted down our final two dishes, which happened to be neighbours. The first was the Karides, the icon dish from Yosma featuring a juicy, flavourful, barbecued king prawn with a crunchy spiced fennel salad.
The second dish was perhaps my favourite dish out of all I’ve had so far: the squid ink croquettes from Little Jose with it’s crunchy, golden brown coating and the creamy filling inside.
We spotted our second round of desserts on our way out: the new black coconut ice cream from Jude’s. Jude’s is known for their wonderful, creamy, British ice creams and this new flavour is out of this world! I don’t normally go for coconut-based food but this had gentle flavours of coconut which I loved.
I so wished we can return the next day to discover all the rest of the delicious dishes – there were just so much on offer!