Like its sibling (let’s be gender neutral) Taste of London, Taste of Christmas offers a range of exhibitions giving away samples, people doing demos, chefs doing masterclasses, etc. I got a free ticket to this event thanks to Tastecard and I must say I’m glad I didn’t pay for the ticket + plus the £20 worth of crowns I bought to obtain samplers from the restaurants. It’s not that the event was bad, it’s just that queuing for stuff isn’t really the beast’s forte, it was in a weird location, it was cold and there weren’t as many restaurants to choose from as Taste of London. There’s also something about Taste of London being in Regent’s Park when the weather is a little better that makes it so much more appealing. Although to be fair, at this event there was a Christmas tree made out of beer bottles so they definitely earn a point for that.
Highlights included both dishes I sampled from Benares which were by far best value for money — hearty portions and excellent quality food. Aloo chat in crispy potato salad added that little extra ‘unique’ something and classic chicken tikka masala with basmatic rice was rich and satisfying. Sometimes it’s best to stick with the classics.
The half rack of BBQ bourbon ribs and slaw from Beard to Tail — exquisite. Extremely sticky and messy, but that kind of fall-off-the-bone meat that lets you know it’s a good rib. Any restaurant that fuses whiskey and meat and does it well is okay in the beast’s book. These ribs might have even topped The Rib Man’s ribs. Gasp.
The Cinnamon Club, after winning me over at Taste of London with its unbelievably tender chargrilled fenugreek chicken, proved to be a disappointment at this event. The Sandalwood flavored chargrilled chicken beast was cold, not as tender, and not to mention unmemorable. It definitely seemed to be a challenge for some vendors to handle the cold weather and getting their dishes out to the public hot, whilst others, such as Opera Tavern, struggled to turn their dishes around quickly enough to satisfy the throngs of people that gathered for their venison and beetroot dish. Word to the wise: when preparing a menu for an event such as this, they have to be dishes that can be turned around quite quickly, don’t leave people waiting, and are served hot if they are meant to be hot. Not that anyone was asking my opinion but that’s the beauty of having your own blog to vent such feelings. I must say that Cinnamon Club did redeem itself by giving out £25 vouchers to its restaurant (though your bill at said restaurant will be around £60 so the £25 voucher seems paltry in the grand scheme of things).
Overall, Taste of London still holds a special place in my heart that Taste of Christmas just didn’t win over.
Website: Taste of Christmas
This event took place from 21st-24th November at Tobacco Dock, i.e. middle of nowhere.