If you have just searched for Ocean’s 11 and are thinking, how did I stumble across a food blog, I apologise. You see, I’m a bit of a Rat Pack fan and 11 had a pretty significant meeting this weekend. With the torrential downpour we’ve had over the last few days also, ocean seemed a pretty good analogy too. So why is 11 significant? Well it was Taste of London 2011 at Regent’s Park and I just so happened to get another signature for Project Obsession, number 11 in fact.
This was our 7th visit to Taste (we think, it’s a bit of blur now). Only the second time that we’ve experienced such rain but we still had fun wading across the mud pools from stand to stand to gorge ourselves on food and drink. I’ve written about taste before so I won’t go into great detail about it and instead just give a few special mentions and the highlights for us.
Corrigan’s had a great menu and was our first stop, crispy black pudding and a ground steak burger with bone marrow. Both amazing flavours and great good hearty food that you expect from Richard Corrigan and his team. We had a great couple of chats the Head Chef, Chris, and look out for something happening in the future as I may have just talked my way into their kitchen. Not for a real job of course, I have definitely realised after my experiences, I am no chef. Next door to Corrigan’s was Bentleys which for me had the star dish, Scallops ceviche. Never had anything like it and I really want more, beautiful scallops with a hint of chilli and fresh sweet fruit.
Next mention goes to Launceston Place. We bumped into Tristan Welch as we were walking round and he seemed to be enjoying the weather. The suckling pig was on again this year and just as good. The chocolate mess for me was the dessert of the day as I don’t really do desserts. Valrhona chocolate mousse, a bit of spice, divine chocolate goodness. I love Tristan’s food because as serious as he is about food, there is a fun feeling about it as you will see from the photo.
Rhodes 24 provided what my wife described as the best lemon tart ever. I wouldn’t know, she didn’t let me have any. I was on the white tomato soup. It was quite odd drinking a white soup that tasted so rich with tomato and Mr Rhodes again was a real gent and happy to chat away. We stopped by Le Gavroche to have a chat with Michel Roux Jr and this is where 11 comes into play again. The Obsession book that I had been lugging around all day was brought out and Michel was kind enough to sign his page for me. So Project Obsession get’s its first signature for a while and so I plan the next.
Our last food stop was at L’Anima where we were treated like stars. Chris at Corrigan’s had sent us down and Chef Francesco Mazzei was the perfect host. We were treated to their icon dish of wild mushroom fettucine with black summer truffle and an amaretto tiramisu. The fettucine was just pure indulgence, so much truffle, amazing mushrooms, creamy sauce, perfectly seasoned, it is one of those dishes that makes you say “where have you been all my life”. You may be thinking, so why was this not my star dish of the day? It is purely that I don’t think it’s a dish I could eat again and again like I could with Bentley’s scallops. Although I could certainly have it now and again. The tiramisu was light and just right to finish the food off for the night. Along with our glass of prosecco poured by Chef Mazzei himself, oh and Richard Bacon sat next to us, it was a great taste moment. Guess where we’re planning to eat for my birthday this year.
Now, we got quite a lot of free food this year, when I say a lot, we actually only paid for about 4 dishes. These chefs are quite a generous lot really. So with plenty of Crowns to spare we headed to The Lovely Bubbly Company for a mini champagne tasting. We tried four champagnes with a glass of our favourite at the end. A great team there who were so friendly and even handed out some old school sweets, popping candy, cola fizz and fizzers.
A quick mention to our friend’s at Sipsmith’s. We have known them since they launched their Gin at taste some years ago and is an essential stop for the best Gin & Tonic at Taste and we have to say, the coolest plastic glasses of the festival too.
That was Taste done for us really and I have to just mention Kin Knives. No I don’t work for them, not being paid to advertise, I just love visiting their stand and as i’ve been chatting to them on Twitter I had to go and say hello and gaze at the knives (yes I want one and will get one eventually). It was quite funny as we stood there and a lady decided she would test the sharpness of the knives and run her finger along one. Not the wisest thing to do, that’s why they have tomatoes to try them out on. Well done to Papa Kin (sorry I don’t know his name but that’s how his daughter refer to him on Twitter) for his first aid skills.
Shock news though as we decided we will probably not go next year. Taste is great and if you’ve never been and love food, you should go. For us, after 7 years, it’s losing a little of it’s allure and if it hadn’t been for L’Anima, Launceston Place, Corrigan’s/Bentleys, Sipsmith’s and Lovely Bubbly, it would have been a fairly flat event for us. Well done guys and we hope to see you all again soon.