I would have to agree with the above. The Taste of London, held in Regent’s Park, is ridiculously posh, as compared to the one and only other Taste of fill-in-the-blank I’ve been to, which was in Colorado. It was like going to Waffle House at 3 am vs. finally getting into Wolfgang Puck’s new restaurant in Mayfair after a three month waiting list. Difference.
I was granted a complimentary VIP ticket this past Friday thanks to my secret wheeling and dealing (not really. I was just meeting someone there) and walked in, trying not to get my shoes muddy from all the irritating torrential rain that fell the day before, and not knowing what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the upscale atmosphere and the sheer amount of quality food and drinks that were there. Everything from Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa to Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy and Petrus was there, with Petrus being one of my favorite special occasion restaurants of all time. There was also plenty of booze around, from champagne in the VIP area to a pop-up of the local pub, to a bike cart full of ginseng spirits from which people were taking shots. Of course, I could not partake in the boozing as 1. I was alone, and 2. I was still meeting someone.
Now if I had been there solely to eat and mooch around, it wouldn’t have been a cheap day. As you can see, the chocolate sphere dessert at Petrus is 20 crowns, or £10. But anyway, this is the place to go if you want to try some signature dishes from some of the best restaurants in London, let alone the world, to see where might be your next favorite restaurant to try. There was also a French wine pairing experience, a cooking school with afternoon and evening sessions, a Weber BBQ experience (which I find pretty laughable as BBQ season here lasts about three days), a Nespresso coffee experience, the Taste of Thailand and other countries with shows and demos, a world beer experience, a British Airways high altitude tasting lounge, a secret garden bar, several farms and organic store stalls including Whole Foods (which is new here to the UK), and my favorite, the Wedgwood Tea Bar.
And thanks to my VIP ticket I also got a free recipe book, which is chock full of an incredible range of restaurant-style recipes from the chefs of these amazing restaurants. This was quite possibly my favorite part of the whole event, as I love trying new things and challenging myself to make British dishes at home. Some of the recipes in the book include Confit Rabbit Leg & Herb Encrusted Loin from Tigerlily in Edinburgh, Bangla Scotch Egg from Cinnamon Soho, Blackberry and Vanilla Parfait from Coq d’Argent, and Sauteed West Country Snails from the Savoy Grill. And every recipe has a sommelier suggests section and tips from the chef. Oh and a bunch of drinks recipes are in the back, too. Love!