Alyson Parkes
Alyson Parkes produces and writes reports, providing insight and analysis on the food and drink market and regularly contributing to the media.

Taste of London is the definitive showcase of London’s best restaurants, top chefs and leading food and drink brands. The ‘Festive Edition’ took place at Tobacco Dock over 15-18 November, and a group of passionate Mintel ‘foodies’ attended to sample some of the most exciting dishes that London has to offer.

Dishes we were most looking forward to trying

‘Txangurro’ San Sebastian Style from Sagardi – Alyson Parkes, Research Analyst

“Basque cuisine from the San Sebastian region in Spain has always intrigued me, so the chance to sample some dishes from Sagardi was a definite must. I chose the ‘Txangurro’ dish; a spider crab dish served in a crepe and covered in a gooey cheese sauce, made with Idiazabal cheese – a traditional sheep’s cheese from Basque. The crepes had more of a crunchy spring roll texture than the soft pancake texture expected, the filling was rich and not particularly crabby and the cheese sauce was as delightful as expected.”

The Infamous Mac Attack from Tom’s Kitchen – Sarah Alhadeff, Research Analyst

“I had wanted to try a dish from celebrity chef Tom Aikens restaurant Tom’s Kitchen for a while, and the combination of pasta and what promised to be an attack of cheese was too alluring to pass up. I wasn’t blown away by it, but it was certainly a comforting bowl of a well-known classic, and Tom Aikens himself served it to me, so that was a plus!”

Bang Coq Wings from Wingmans – Nick Carroll, Senior Research Analyst

“Always a fan of anything chicken, I hoped that the addition of fermented Thai chilli to these wings would give this dish an interesting kick. It didn’t disappoint with the pickled cucumber adding even more “zing” to the wings. I hadn’t realised that Wingmans started life as a pop-up and had made the rounds cooking at some of the biggest music festivals in the UK. Now that they’ve got their first permanent restaurant, I’ll definitely be making a visit.”

Fried Chicken Bao from Bao – Andrew Moss, Research Analyst

“Bao buns seem to have become really popular in London in the last year or so. I’d only ever had them with barbecued pork before, so taking some fried chicken and covering it with Sichuan mayonnaise sounded like my perfect dish. It was a lot smaller than I’d hoped for, but the heat from that mayo meant a couple of bites were more than enough.”

 

Tagliolini with wild girolles and black truffle from Nonna Tonda – Rebecca McGrath, Senior Research Analyst

“As a vegetarian, I often feel at a disadvantage at food festivals with there usually only being a handful of fairly dull dishes suitable for me to eat, however, the selection at Taste was really quite extensive. I decided to go for this indulgent sounding pasta dish as I was really keen to try the black truffle, which was generously shaved on top of the pasta. It was really earthy and unlike the flavour you get from truffle oils in shops. Tasty, but not outstanding.”

Bruleed Banana Jam Ice-cream Pie from Chin Chin Labs – Emma Coleman, Research CRDA

“I was aware of Chin Chin Labs having seen them all over Instagram with their famous liquid nitrogen-made ice creams, so I was really excited to try this dessert, despite not knowing what to expect from this crazy-sounding dish. A buttery biscuit base, layers of sweet banana jam and a burnt butter caramel ice cream; it was rich and incredibly moreish. The perfect dish to end the night.”

 

Dishes we were surprised we loved

Chanfana Roll from Bar Douro – Alyson Parkes, Research Analyst

“Having noticed several people tucking into bowls of the most vibrant green sauce, I decided to try it for myself. The insides of the Chanfana rolls – a kind of crispy bread/pancake concoction – were filled with the most succulent milk-fed lamb, but it was the earthy spinach puree with hints of coriander running through it that made this my dish of the night. Portuguese cuisine doesn’t seem to have made its mark on the UK yet, but with dishes like this, I can’t understand why.”

Chin Chin Labs Signature Hot Chocolate – Rebecca McGrath, Senior Research Analyst

“It wasn’t that I was surprised that I loved this hot chocolate, the surprise was the theatre that came with ordering one of Chin Chin Labs famous drinks. You placed your order and walked to one side where a woman was stood, next to what can only be described as a vat of molten chocolate. She poured the liquid into a small cup and then topped with a mound of gooey marshmallow before lighting a blow torch and giving the marshmallow a quick blast. It was unbelievably decadent and my highlight of the night.”

Jaffna Chicken Wings at Hoppers – Lewis Cone, Senior Research Analyst

“I was intrigued by the ‘jaffna style’ sauce that would be used to glaze the wings on this offering from Hoppers, since, after browsing their website before visiting, it appeared to be a ‘Taste’ exclusive. After an initial heat sensation, the flavour settled. The spices that were apparent by sight came together to create an authentic and distinctively creamy taste.”