Taste of London 2016 Festive Edition: Pure Christmas spirit at Tobacco Docks
It’s easy to get sick of “the holidays”. Revving up in early November and continuing on for almost two months, the endless barrage of mulled wine, spiced treats and countless interpretations of Turkey dinners seem to flood every aspect of life. In general, many Londoners spend most of the month trying to avoid it all, wishing the tube wasn’t so full of Oxford Street shoppers and sticking to the bars and restaurants that can avoid the temptation to cash in. For some things though, you’ll make an exception.
Taste of London Festive Edition is one of those things. Its infectious charm is hard to resist, and though it’s typically dominated by wintery themes and the spirit of the season, there are the odd pockets of sanity that keep everything in perspective. A fair chunk of the event is just great food without any gimmicks, which makes the whole thing considerably more tolerable; it’s a lot easier to bear the barrage of red and green when you’re walking around with a plate of truffled mac ‘n’ cheese.
As always, Taste has brought an impressive selection of London’s best restaurants together for its event, giving elated punters a chance to sample signature dishes and try restaurants they might not otherwise be able to.The highlight this year is Jose Pizarro’s excellent Presa Iberica. The wonderfully tender pork is served medium rare, its subtle sweetness contrasting perfectly with the smoky char of the grill. A slick of of salvichada offers some much needed acidity to cut through the meat’s richness, although unlike it’s better known sibling Jamon Iberico, this cut is considerably less fatty.
There are plenty of great products on offer too. Drinks by the Dram will be a familiar name for any alcohol enthusiasts and they’re here in full force, offering their fine little bottles of various spirits that are just perfect for sampling new drinks. They do a very grown-up calendar too, with a little nip of something special behind every door. Elsewhere Ozerlat are offering thick turkish coffee, whilst The Datery’s chocolate covered dates are surprisingly delicious. Using a lighter, less syrupy date than the ones commonly found in the UK, they achieve an excellent balance between the Belgian chocolate coating and the sticky fruits within.
The real star of the show though, as ever, is the location. Tobacco dock is a truly wonderful setting for any winter event, its beautiful halls full of atmosphere and long shadows. It lends an odd sense of occasion to the event that the summer edition, with its rows of flappy tents, tends to lack. That one often feels like an exhibition, this feels like an event. There are families out Christmas shopping, friends meeting for coffees, young bloggers awed by the wide range of incredible dishes. It’s enough to melt even the most cynical city-dweller’s heart.
Photos: Daniel Masters
Taste of London 2016: Festive Edition is at Tobacco Dock from 17th until 20th November, for further information or to book your tickets visit here.