Restoring The Taste of London

Well London, you’ve done it again. You’ve reignited and restored my love and faith in food and it’s many beautiful qualities, and goodness, I am impressed with what you have to offer!

In recent months, I’ve grown a little exasperated by our cultural attitude towards food. On the one hand, we’ve adopted a dispassionate and prohibiting approach. Amazon’s bestsellers in food and drink now almost entirely consist of skinny-eater manuals and how to cook for looks over taste. You have to scroll pretty far down the list before the name of a practising chef makes an appearance and even further before you encounter a title that doesn’t include some variation on ‘eat better/simpler/slimmer.’ Meanwhile in the mainstream world, supermarkets and restaurants are now overrun with overpriced ‘alternative’ offerings. Courgetti, boodles and avocado burger buns have somehow become commonplace on menus and pushed away the importance of traditional and historical ways of cooking. Of course, I’m all for innovation and I’m pleased that nutrition is becoming the forefront of popularity, but not at the expense of rejoicing culture and origin which, lets be honest, will long out live health and vitality.

But my waning inspiration was partially remedied this week at Taste of London, a festival showcasing the very best of what’s on the menu in the city. Housing plate offerings from restaurants and chef across the city, there’s no occasion with more diversity, talent and celebration of food just for being, well, food.

The concept is simple but genius – work your way around small plates of signature dishes from some of London’s top restaurants, sampling a little bit of everything. It’s a rare occasion where you can brunch with Duck & Waffle, grab lunch by Ottolenghi and visit Bao without standing in a three hour queue. The flavours were rich, decadent and wholly represented each chefs passion for their craft. It was more an adventure than a feast.

Of course, not to be outdone were the drink offerings. On a perfect day, a visit to Taste of London entails Regent’s Park enveloped in glorious sunshine, with a refreshing cocktail on hand created by masters of mixology. Let it be known, mixologists take great pride in their mastery, perhaps even moreso than chefs. I was wildly impressed by the infusions brought together by Simone Caporale in his Italian summer-inspired collaboration with The House of Peroni, which somehow made the unconventional addition of gluten free beer seem like a staple in classics such as the bellini and frozen negori, creating a real flourish of flavour alongside the floral notes of bergamot and peony. Perfection!

Yes, I was full-up on inspiration after just a few hours at Taste of London. Food became so much more than we’ve grown accustomed to considering it. It became a celebratory journey of flavours and talent across the globe. I’d like to see a little more of that on Amazon now, please!

*Disclaimer: This post includes sponsored content. All views are my own – please drink responsibly.

Enjoyed reading about this foodie adventure at Taste of London? Check out my visit to the Big Feastival and my favourite foodie finds there too!

Maxine Ali