The annual Taste of London outdoor restaurant festival is back for 2016 for another year of gastronomic Glastonbury. Big names on the line-up of chefs who'll be doing talks and demonstrations include Nathan Outlaw, Monica Galetti, Pierre Koffmann, Francesco Mazzei and Jose Pizarro. Taster dishes from the likes of Duck and Waffle, Roka and Typing Room will be available to buy and visitors can sign up for interactive cooking sessions and boozy masterclasses.
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I went to Taste of London on Friday lunch section. The weather was hot at one point then raining next minute. But with great food and free samples, who cares? Look out for #SecretService @TasteofLondon on Twitter while you there. Different workshops host in a tiny Japanese tea house (yes, you need to remove your shoes before going in) available if you RT quick enough. I was lucky and went to the one with Mast Brothers which was a chocolate tasting and making. We tasted the fresh cocoa bean, dried cocoa bean and three different chocolates. Then get my hands dirty and made a chocolate truffle out of chocolate ganache. It was a very special experience and the highlight of the show for me. Wagyu puffs with gold leaves from Chai Wu were pretty awesome, too. @ChaiWuLondon @MastBrothers
I was very fortunate to get press passes for this which gave me free access to the event itself and to the VIP areas as well as three free tokens. I could've got a goodie bag but I wasn't keen on carrying anything around. Anyway, it's so lively and actually well equipped for dodgy London weather. I think three tokens is all a veggie really needs because of the carb content but for meat eaters, I think 4-5 tokens is sufficient. Although tokens do not cover the iconic dishes which is around the double digit price point. I would definitely recommend VIP tickets as you have clean, no-queue toilets and free-flowing alcohol... and canapes from Pizarro in the VIP Lounge. I also recommend the following dishes: Anything from Sartoria (Italian), the Truffled Duck Egg by Club Gascon, the polenta croquettas from Duck & Waffle and the salted caramel softserve also from Duck & Waffle. There's also a whole host of demos and stalls, be sure to have enough time to check them out.
Get your ticket for a week day rather than weekend as it represents much more value.
The vibe is awesome. The crown system works well, but be prepared to also have some cash/card on your as it's only the restaurants that only take crowns and some of the exhibitors only take cash.
If you're umming and arring about going - do it! You'll have a fab time, just don't think about you're wallet the next morning. You'll wake thinking what a great time, but a little pricey? But does that matter if you can say you've had an awesome experience?
When else can you eat top food from a number of restaurants with the best dining accolades in a field.
It's like gastro glasto!