Here at House of Coco, we love great food. Oftentimes we don’t find the need to travel too far to find some of the world’s best cuisine. Our roving food and travel writing duo, Eulanda and Omo, went off to the annual Taste of London held at London’s Regent’s Park to experience the sights, sounds and tastes of one of London’s most popular food festivals.
London! The city where food meets innovation, creativity and a willing audience! At the Taste of London, London’s finest and newest restaurants, food and beverage companies and a collection of exciting innovators gather every year to showcase their latest creations. This is where both experienced food lovers and newbies looking for a culinary adventure come to let their senses run wild. With over 40 restaurants and 170 dishes on offer, there is always something for everyone.
On the opening day, we were received by restaurant group, Grupo Sagardi whose stand ‘Basque Country’ were exhibiting food and wine showcasing the best of Spain’s Basque region. Following a colourful cooking demonstration, we had a taste of what to expect at their flagship London restaurant including Basque favourites such as codfish omelette with piquillo peppers washed down with citrusy Txakoli Gorka Izagirre, a refreshing wine that left our taste buds dreaming of green apples and lime.
We asked the amiable Sagardi founder, Señor Iñaki Viñaspre, to sum up Basque cuisine. He described it as international yet traditional with the most important characteristics being a love for the earth and the sea, a desire to use only the best products that nature has to offer and a mission to stay as close to the original taste of the ingredients as possible. Making a mental note to visit Sagardi when it opens later this summer, we wandered off to explore the rest of the festival.
One of the most interesting aspects of the Taste of London is the diversity on display. London is a city which prides itself on being the epicentre and melting pot of global cultures. In addition to British cuisine, we were excited to experience tasting menus from Thailand, Turkey and France. In particular, we loved the fusion of Spanish and Japanese taste and culture provided by Aqua Nueva.
After a quick tour of Regent’s Park, we sighted the VIP lounge where the Evening Standard London Restaurant Awards had concluded earlier, celebrating the best of London’s fever-pitch gastronomy scene. Just outside the lounge, we spotted the Cornish brewer Sharp’s Brewery Doom Bar where we would spend the rest of our evening. We started off with taster glasses of the Sharp’s range which included Sharp’s Atlantic pale ale, the popular Doom Bar amber ale and the dark Orchard cider. Our favourite was the Sharp’s Pilsner, dominating our taste buds with a taste of citrus fruits.
The most interesting part of the evening took place in the most nondescript of locations. Sharp’s Brewery set up a ‘secret’ dark room where guests can learn about beer and food pairings. Under the guidance of our gregarious host, an experienced foodie and beer connoisseur, we experienced some of the latest innovations in Cornish cuisine complimented by Sharp’s unique beer flavours. We ended the evening with more fascination about Cornwall and its iconic brands.
The clouds that had by then gathered above the London sky did nothing to deter our excitement. For weeks we had been looking forward to the Taste of London; one of the city’s iconic food festivals, and were satisfied that London’s place as one of the world’s gastronomic capitals remains intact.
Visit Taste of London for more information regarding ticket availability for the remainder of the weekend. Saturday & Sunday tickets range from £28-£65pp.
Visit Grupo Sagardi for more information regarding their London opening.
Photos © Eulanda Shead