We took our first Private Dining London team trip out to Taste of London on Thursday evening to see the best of what London Restaurants have to offer to diners this year. We had all visited before and so threw ourselves whole-heartedly into trying new adventurous dishes and restaurants we wouldn’t usually opt for.
Classic favourites of the show are Duck & Waffle, Jose Pizarro and one of Roux’s number of establishments. This year saw the appearance of Mirror Room at Rosewood London, Heddon Street Kitchen, Hook, M Restaurant and Sea Containers as new faces for us to get a flavour of. We were spoiled with Typing Room being the daily special as well as the show boasting vegetarian restaurants Vanilla Black and Amico Bio. There was also a Secret Service tasting experience which was twitter invite-only which we didn’t have chance to explore after being too busy fighting the queues at Meat Liquor for their Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip. It was definitely worth the wait for the lip-tingling smack of the wing’s sauce which made us cry a little too much inside.
Theo Randall’s Spiedino di Salsiccia was fresh to match the summer with the orzo delicately accompanying the Tuscan sausage. Randall’s excitement for his private dining rooms was evident when we spoke to him about visiting and we are looking forward to getting a date in the diary to see the different options for our clients.
Trishna’s offering was slightly disappointing at £6.00 for a singular Lamb Chop with Kashmiri chilli, ginger, crushed onion and kasundi mooli. The lamb was soft and delicious but the portion and dish as a whole did not quite live up to the usual JKS offering.
Newby Hook restaurant aims to take on the traditional fish and chips dish. Their lemon & basil tempura sea bream with basil and chilli sauce, seaweed salted chips and cucumber & samphire salad sounds more complicated than it was. The sea bream was light and unusual without straying too much from traditional ideas and it certainly held its place comfortably amongst the other restaurants. We were impressed but would like to see more to make a better informed judgement.
Our favourite restaurant of the festival has to go to Kurobuta which blasted out music to match the fun, relaxed team and the menu offered interesting combinations of intriguing ingredients.
The BBQ pork belly bun with spicy peanut soy was certainly hot and for what appears to be only a small carby bite it certainly satisfied the hunger. We wanted to go back for seconds.
However, the outstanding dish from Kurobuta and the whole festival for us came in the form of their Tako-yaki corn dogs (Japanese octopus donuts) with umami mayo and tonkatsu sauce. The chunky pieces of octopus melted in the mouth when bitten into and barely compare to the bar set by London’s offering of Calamari. Bravo Kurobuta, we cannot wait to visit.
Each year we attend Taste of London, we enjoy it more and the dishes become more adventurous for us to throw ourselves into. We love the festival for the samples, insights and potential it presents to us ahead of revisiting the restaurants ourselves, or even visiting them for the first time. As well as the opportunity to find a new restaurant with a private dining room who's potential we didn’t see before. With the festival offering over 170 dishes, the only difficult part is to choose where to start and when to stop eating…