I just returned home from a weekend in London with my friends Adam and Kelly. The main purpose of the trip is to attend the taste of London ("the world's greatest restaurant festival" as quoted on the website) at Regent's Park; and to eat a lot.
We arrived on Friday lunchtime, and after a serious discussion on 'where should we go for lunch?' which Kelly and Adam agreed to go to any place as long as they can watch the football match, we went to Chicago Ribs Shack. We had a 'light' lunch of the Shack Combination Platter that consists of a quarter of BBQ chicken, a handful of baby back ribs, smoked brisket and pulled pork with a side of manslaw (their 'man' style coleslaw with grated cheddar, jalapeños and spicy chorizo sausage) and two bowls of chips. Delish! I was very tempted to get a dessert to share, like a sundae or a slice of pie, but Kelly reminded me that we'll be going for afternoon tea in a couple of hours, so next time perhaps.
After lunch, we checked-in to the hotel, changed our clothes and took a taxi to the Berkeley London at a posh London neighbourhood, Knightsbridge for afternoon tea. I mentioned this place a few blogs back, which you can read here; the afternoon tea, Prêt-à-Portea, is inspired by clothings and accessories from various well-known designers; all served on fine-bone china by Sir Paul Smith. And the menu changes every six months to follow the changing seasons in fashion.
Out of all the sweets, my favourite was Sonia Rykiel nautical vanilla and raspberry jam layered mousse topped with humorous yellow hat (pictured above). It was just out of this world and I'm gonna try to recreate this, so just wait and see...
The evening was spent watching England vs Algeria match nearby our hotel. Another draw, and it was another disappointing result for England. Oh, come on England!
Saturday was the day... the day of the festival! Yay!!
There were loads of restaurants, food stalls (with free samples), food and drink master-classes, and music entertainment. I also met Gary Rhodes and Heston Blumenthal at the festival.
I'm trying to remember what we had there because there were loads: crisp-fried summer squid salad, seared tuna and green tea soba salad, steak and chips, garlicky snails and chorizo mash, minted Welsh lamb burger, apple danish pastry, cheesecake, fresh oysters, many kinds of spirits and beverages and I found... 'Rekordelig Premium Strawberry-Lime Cider' - My official new best friend. So refreshing.
I also stocked up on onion marmalade and sweet chilli jam from the food stalls because I'm almost running out. This is my second time at the festival and we cannot wait to come back for the next one in December.
We spent about four hours eating and drinking at the festival and then we went back to the hotel, took a nap, and watched a little bit of football before dinner at one of my favourite place, Bumpkin, a country-style restaurant at South Kensington.
To start I had warm duck salad with cucumber, fennel and toasted sesame seeds. I hope you're not sick of me saying 'Yum' to almost everything, because I'm just telling the truth and the salad was a definite yum...
And then I had the overnight roast belly of Plantation pork with Northumberland Pan Haggerty and red wine jus. Another definite YUM. The meat was melt-in-you-mouth tender and the crackling was perfect.
I have always believed that my stomach is divided into three different sections: for something to start, one for the main meal and another one for sweets and puddings. This weekend I used all these compartments and more...
I have had a great weekend in London, but I'm glad to be back home. I cannot wait to start cooking and to continue with the project.
Fruit bar for dinner.
How was your weekend?