With live music on the bandstand, family games to play, bars to meet your friends at and attractions including Celebrity Cruises Lawn Club food and wine tastings with Oz Clarke, there are too many pleasures to list, but here are five brilliant reasons to get along to Taste of London.
Taste your way around London’s most exciting restaurants without having to wait months for a table. Tour the pop-up installations and create your own perfect taster menu with over 200 sample-sized signature dishes to choose from, including Michelin-starred highlights like Club Gascon, Trishna and Cliveden House, five-star fast food from MEAT Liquor, Butchies and Shotgun, and an array of exciting world cuisines. For more about the foodie delights on offer, check out our rundown of the guest restaurants at Taste of London 2016.
Of course, flavours don’t end with food and Taste of London always works with a series of exciting partners to offer the finest classics and exciting new sips for you to try. The Champagne Laurent-Perrier Clubhouse makes a welcome return, providing the opportunity to sample the vintages in a luxury setting. By contrast, but no less worthy of note, Pilsner Urquell also returns to showcase its unpasteurised Tank Beer, direct from the brewery’s cellars in the Czech Republic. If you love your Scotch, don’t miss the Balvenie Craftsman’s Tasting, a masterclass with food paired by Michel Roux Jr. There’s also craft beer at the House of Hops, Ketel One Vodka bloody mary masterclasses and the Wine & Spirits Theatre, where you can sample the latest, greatest and most unusual wines and spirits from around the world.
3. Watch and learn
Know what to order next time you’re dining out, and what to buy when you’re entertaining at home. One of the most exciting things about this restaurant festival is the diverse array of live cooking demonstrations and the chance to join tasting workshops. See top chefs live in the AEG Taste Theatre, where they’ll be cooking, sharing the tricks of the trade and talking about their work. For a list of the amazing talent appearing this year, check out who’s who at Taste of London. You can get back to basics with demonstrations and masterclasses on cooking with the best ingredients at the Whole Foods Market Kitchen, and at the DS Automobile Avante Garde Theatre, great chefs including Pascal Aussignac, Eric Lanlard and Monica Galetti will be preparing their own take on French classics, live on stage.
4. Get hands-on
At a festival that’s all about flavours, participating is a major part of the experience. Every day throughout Taste of London, there’s a big choice of hands-on workshops and masterclasses, from mixology to sausage making, led by experts in the field. These include a food and champagne pairing session with The Grill at The Dorchester, and hands-on AEG Take Taste Further workshops with TV chef Jeremy Pang, founder of the School of Wok Chinese cookery school.
Feeling inspired to go home and do amazing things in your own kitchen? Then your friends and family are in for a treat! The Producers’ Market at Taste of London has more than 200 stalls of top-quality British and international food and drink, by artisan producers and premium brands. From champagne to coconut drinks, healthy snacks to gourmet popcorn, sweet treats you can take home to wine clubs you can sign up to, there’s a world of flavours here. Stock up on spirits, update your kitchenware and try new ice creams – it’s all good.
We’ve only picked a few highlights here. For the latest updates on the events and participants at Taste of London, go to www.tasteoflondon.co.uk.
With the welcoming feel of a brasserie, this large, bright, airy and cool dining room – the walls decorated with painted murals of Vietnamese scenes and the ceiling hung with paper lanterns – is a pleasure to visit. This holds true even when the place is crowded, as it often is with a largely western clientele that includes a high percentage of fashionable locals. Service is generally prompt and efficient, and the menu fairly extensive, if a little predictable and short on vegetable dishes. The kitchen prides itself on using fresh ingredients and the food reflects this – but we found ourselves needing to make liberal use of the table sauces provided (something that rarely happens in a Vietnamese restaurant). For example, a stunningly handsome, piled-high platter of sizzling seafood failed to measure up to its looks as, although perfectly cooked and a textural treat, it seemed almost totally devoid of added flavourings. On the plus side, there’s an attractive selection of oriental-themed cocktails – such as Vijito, a minted mix of rum, and lime and passionfruit juices – though a fairly limited choice of wines.
Venue says: “Our priority is to deliver authentic and excellent Vietnamese cuisine!”