Taste, finally, London

“You’re in O2 Rewards Gold Tier. So you deserve something extra special”

When I get such text messages from O2 I admit, I tend to ignore them.

However the next bit grabbed my attention: “Secret Garden tickets at Taste London Festival”. As they were only £15, I immediately bought two, frantically checking the website for the chefs’ schedules. I chose saturday night session which had none other than Heston, Angela and my current posh favourite Tristan Welch amongst others. Yay! I felt pleased with myself.


So after much hype, rather after much PR driven communication pestering for months the London foodie twitter verse and more, came the day I had tickets for the famous outdoor food festival. With major sponsors such as British airways and AEG, it was never going to be a small, independent, affair. Yet I felt somehow special having got the VIP tickets (yeah, I don’t get out much). 
The first surprise came when I checked the schedule again. Sadly (or maybe, unprofessionally?), when I booked, the website was still listing last year’s schedule! My 2011 Saturday afternoon session had the less appealing (to me at least, no offence) Jacob Kennedy, Nuno Mendez and Paul A Young. 
Never mind, it still seemed a good way of spending a Summer saturday evening. Summer? Possibly the rainiest week of the year, the regent’s park fields were very muddy, I’m guessing, Glastonbury style. As we got there it started pouring, then it stopped only to start again very soon. It did this the entire evening.

One of the O2 ‘angels’ escorted us to the Secret Garden which felt like the opposite side of the festival and well it actually was. We welcomed the indoor seating area, which was quite empty and as we arrived a chef (Chris Galvin) was talking in a Q&A… We picked up some canapés, and I made my way across the VIP O2 tent (la creme de la creme of VIP taste! I felt more special by the minute…) where I got our two glasses of champagne ( Laurent Perrier Rose), our Taste recipe books and … our O2 waterproof capes! 
After a while, O2 branded, we ventured out… The queues were quite large despite the rain. 
Launceston Place foodWe stopped to buy a box and have a taste from Baruzzo chocolate. Raffaella was there and was a pleasure to meet her. We do really like her stuff and I preferred to spend our crowns there rather than very popular Paul A Young who was also doing a demo nearby. 
Next, we arrived at Launceston Place tent. As I ordered a couple of dishes, I managed to say hello to Tristan who was there, busy busy – he smiled and said hello back, maybe even recognising me (*blush*). The Sustainable British fish ‘fritto misto’ was very good – hot from the fryer, crispy and not greasy and even a pretty generous portion. The Suckling Pig bun was very nice too but the fish was superior. 
Soft Shell Crab - Modern Pantry

With so much choice, so many people and rainy weather I did not feel like wandering around too long. Next stop, the Modern Pantry Soft Shell Crab with Singapore Style sauce. It was so worth the wait! Very crispy but not soggy, and again, a fairly good sized portion for 10 crowns (£5). Delicious, and made me want to check the Modern Pantry out asap.
We made our way back to the O2 Secret Garden to relax and sit down in the dry a bit. A few more canapes later, a Laverstoke Dolce Ice cream later, we listened to the Q&A with Jacob Kennedy (how to make pasta? mmm I know already… what is Slow Food? Sorry I know that one too).
We decided to start making our way out but I wanted to try L’Anima, as I have heard so much about their food and their chef. I managed to locate the stand, and got a Burrata d’Andria with Smoked Aubergine. The burrata was extremely good but the smoked aubergine was nothing special and made me miss Neapolitan melanzane a funghetti. That would have been a proper match for the burrata!
L'AnimaI still had some crown left to spend but as much as I was tempted by one of Tristan’s desserts, I decided to buy some products from Farrington’s as we usually buy their rapeseed oil. I got some nice salad dressing and a mayonnaise jar which I cant wait to try.

I rushed out, my good jeans and boots covered in mud, the sky darkening behind us.
My opinion of Taste London? Somehow positive. I enjoyed it, it’s buzzy despite the paper plates and there seemed to be a good vibe despite the foul weather.
The food I tried was great quality despite the amount of people the chefs were cooking for. Yet, had it not been for the VIP tickets, I feel my experience would have been somehow.. damper!

Please, O2, can we have it again next year? I promise to be a loyal, paying customer…

4 thoughts on “Taste, finally, London

  1. That sounds really cool despite the weather!
    L’anno prossimo non me lo perdo certo, voglio proprio assaporare quella vibe che mi manca tanto… e se e’ il caso mi piazzo anche in pole position di fronte a Tristan 🙂

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