Saturday 30 November 2013

Taste of Christmas, London

Having missed out on Taste of London, an annual food festival held in London featuring some of the top restaurants and chefs in the capital including Michel Roux Jnr and Atul Kochhar we were eager to make it to Taste of Christmas, the festive variant.  This years event was held at Tabacco Dock in Wapping, this was a great historic site largely indoors with an uncovered area to accommodate the barbecue features and exhibitors.

The restaurant stands did not take cash and a virtual currency known as crowns was used, with 1 crown being the equivalent of £1.  The producer stands accepted a mixture of cash and crowns.  Having located a currency stand, we were soon armed with crowns and made our way to find some dishes to try.

Our first stop was Michelin starred Club Gascon were we sampled the truffle and foie gras burger.  As I was waiting for my dish a humorous exchange occured as another dish served by Club Gascon was duck and dog, a poor lady obviously misunderstood and was bewildered that dog would be served.  Despite the best efforts of staff to explain it was a play on words with a hot dog filled with duck the lady didn't seem to understand and wandered off.  The truffle and foie gras burger was priced at 8 crowns and was fulfilling with its rich creamy texture leaving us wanting more.  I subsequently visited Club Garcon which will soon feature on the site.

Another participating Michelin starred restaurant was Benares, headed up by chef Atul Kochhar.  The Electrolux taste theatre was adjacent to the stand and we caught chef performing a demonstration.  Later on he was seen manning the stand which attracted a large crowd.

Next up we sampled pork neck wheels from Beard to Tail, other dishes included bourbon ribs and pulled featherblade.

Ametsa with Arzak Instruction recently won its first star having opened this year.  It is a spin off of the 3 starred institution that is Arzak in San Sebasti├ín.  We tried the lamb shank rolls with fried grapes which turned out to be the most interesting thing on the plate. The guys at Arzak are well used to customers taking pictures and advised us on lighting and camera angles when they saw us using our iPhone to capture snaps!

As part of the Action Against Hunger sand, five top chefs including Dan Doherty from Duck and Waffle, Alyn Williams at The Wesbury, Jun Tunaka, Mark Hix and Martin Morales from Ceviche had devised dressings for oysters.  We were shocked to be served by Jun Tanaka himself and he even kindly took time out to have a photo with us. 

Sister restaurants Salt Yard and Opera Tavern served up spiced venison and beetroot pinchos and truffle mac and cheese.

A few restaurants we didn't get to try included Disco Bistro, Barbecoa, Cinnamon Club, Hixster and Truscott Arms.

Along with the restaurants there were hundreds of exhibitors selling a wide range of food and drink products.  From local producers to well known brands such as Cadburys and Yakult. Many were offering small samples and we must have tried hundreds of different things during our walk around the two floors of the venue hence not being able to sample more dishes!

Taste of Christmas was an enjoyable afternoon out and it wouldn't be Christmas without a tree even though if it was made out of beer bottles!

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