S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Taste of London: Overview

For the fourth year running, London hosted Taste of London this week, the sort of food fair I like most. Forty London restaurants, including a notable selection of high-end ones, each offered up three mini-dishes for sampling (at a cost) to the attendees of the event during one of seven four hour sessions in Regent's Park. To accompany the tapas-sized portions, a bevy of drink companies had their wares available for buying and sampling, from the M&S officially coordinated wines to non-alcoholic drinks galore. Most of the buying and selling wasn't in cash, but in "crowns", the event-specific currency which kept prices regulated across the event. Most edibles cost the equivalent of UKP 3-5 - not the cheapest picnic foods, but not the most expensive either, especially given the cost of eating at many of these in person.

Portions were large enough and prices just high enough that we could only sample a small proportion of the wealth of edibles available, most elegantly plated, despite the disposable eatingware on which it was served. Garnish, arrangement, and presentation all matter in addition to taste, especially when the purpose of the event is, in part, to sell the restaurants. And indeed, the one dish which most won me over will almost certainly bring me to the relevant restaurant sometime in the near future.

Big-name restaurants pulled in, as expected, a disproportionate percentage of the crowd. Jamie Oliver's Fifteen had a queue early on. Shortly before we left, the line for the Smith of Smithfields stall reached all the way into the heart of the tents opposite. Our four hour session sold out before the end. (I prebooked our tickets.) After all, how often does one have a chance to sample dishes from Le Gavroche or The Connaught for not much more than pocket change?

Tomorrow: Indian street food, prosecco granita, and the challenges of choosing what to eat.
Tags: eating in london, food, food events

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