Sunday, June 18, 2006

Taste of London 2006 - The write up

It was all that I had anticipated. Nothing more, nothing less. The atmosphere was pleasant and it wasn't overcrowded. The weather continued to shine down on us and was absolutely brilliant. We headed over early and queued up early under the leafy trees of Regent's Park. Here's what I thought:

Salad of smoked duck, with baby beetroot, walnuts & pickled shallots

This starter from Pearl was the only real discription that jumped out at me from the start. So as soon as we walked into the grounds we made a beeline for the Pearl kitchen. We were very close to the front of the queue so I think my order at Pearl was probably one of the first that they produced that day. With the first bite, my palette was slightly confused, as I was expecting a warm slice of duck, instead of the fridge cool that hit my mouth. But don't get me wrong. The salad was a good fresh start to the day. It whetted my appetite and I was ready for some more.

Spice encrusted tuna, Israeli cous cous, chermoula dressing

This was Dan's first choice. He had wanted to try Israeli cous cous for quite some time now, and although I'd never heard of it before I was indeed curious. Israeli cous cous is a cous cous for giants with each grain being only slightly smaller than a petit pois. It's prepared and seasoned in the same way as regular cous cous, however the texture is really quite soft and rolling, rather than soft and grainy, like regular cous cous. Bank flavoured theirs with flat leaf parsley, diced peppers and perhaps a little too much olive oil. The tuna was served as sashimi and the spice that encrusted it was a welcome texture.

Szechuan tiger prawns with Thai basil & blackened beans

I'm afraid that we gobbled this down before we even had a chance to take a photo of it. Oh, it was tasty. I'm so glad that Dan came to his senses and went to Cocoon, which was situated right next door to Hush where he was going to order a char-grilled free range chicken breast marinated in olive oil, garlic & rosmary, served on a ciabatta with wild rocket and pesto. I mean, you don't come to a fancy food festival and eat a chicken sarni even if the name does make it sound posh. Anyway, I think our chicken sarni that we had for dinner on Monday night would have been 10 times better. The prawns were large and fresh and sculpted in a way that bamboozled me. The plate was just spicy enough to warrant a cocktail, so we headed for Specialty Drinks where Dan enjoyed a Mojito made with 23 year old rum and I had a refreshing Campari, Lime & Tonic.

Rare breed beef off the barbie, hand cut chips, horseradish

John Torode's Smiths of Smithfields' main certainly did not disappoint, and this had to be my pick of what we had at the show. The picture certainly does not do this tasty morsel justice. I was glad that the horseradish sauce was not too strong, as it allowed the flavour of the beef to shine through. Hacking into it with a wooden fork, I was even tempted by the half inch of fat hanging off the edge (but not that tempted). After not having red meat for about a month, this was certainly the ultimate dish to break the fast. Oh, and the chips propping up the steak were pretty good too.

Valrhona hot chocolate fondue, marshmallows, biscotti & strawberry kebabs

We had to try at least one of Gordon Ramsey's dishes and after a glass of Pimm's each, we decided to have dessert at Boxwood. Now desserts aren't exactly Gordon's strong point, but this little plate of delectables went down a treat and gave us a nice midafternoon sugar rush. It was an excellent way to end our little tasting menu.

We were contented and full by the time we were ready to move. I was just so happy that within 2 hours, I was home and full and relaxing in front of the Back to the Future Triology.


Robert Nanders said...

Oh- my. Oh me oh my. That looks amazing. Smoked duck salad? Wow. I'm dying for a nice beet salad, and something like that might hit the spot. Thanks for sharing!

June said...

This is a really good review - you tell me what I want to know, what you thought about it, (concisely!) and the photos are good. Glad to have found you!

cosmetic said...

couscous is the national dish in Tunisia, I love it especially with lamb and season vegetables, but never tried the giant one, have to give it go, it looks good on the photo

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