Taste Residence In Da House | Taste of London, Regent’s Park, London
We’d had a strange 24 hours. One evening we were being treated to an exclusive The Taste Residence preview dinner, cooked by Michelin starred chef Ollie Dabbous amongst a select few journalists and critics. The next, after some extended birthday drinks, we were huddled in our local kebab shop ordering an extra-large chicken shish with a rabble of drunk (but ever so polite) teenagers – what a difference a day makes.
Not that we’re comparing ourselves in the slightest to Grace Dent, but her latest feature in ES Magazine really struck a chord with the both of us. As I sat fanning my burning tongue from the heat of the kebab’s chilli sauce, I read that her humble foodie beginnings aren’t all that different from mine – Findus crispy pancakes, Birds Eye potato waffles and, if we were lucky – a mint Viennetta for dessert. But this is where any similarities between Grace and ourselves end. Don’t worry, we’re not getting delusions of grandeur – in fact it’s the opposite, more like bouts of insignificance.
That said, I’m very proud of what We Love Food has accomplished over the last seven years and all our hard work and effort had definitely been worth it. For here we were on the terrace a stunning One Fine Stay penthouse apartment overlooking Tower Bridge, chatting to Ollie Dabbous about what he was about to cook for Saff and I (and the rest of the group, obviously.)
After a very quick Monkey Shoulder ‘Penicillin’ cocktail masterclass (apparently they’re building a whisky den like nothing you’ve seen before at Taste of London this year) it was time to be seated and sample what, more or less, would be the four courses that Ollie will serve up in Regent’s Park during his two Taste Residence sessions on Saturday 17th June.
Ollie explained that the menu was designed using only the freshest seasonal ingredients, allowing all the individual flavours to pop without using overly ‘chefy’ techniques. His aim to deliver a light yet satisfying meal to showcase the style of cooking that has earned Dabbous a Michelin star.
He delivered this straight from the offset. The first course of Grelot onions with lime and marigold, sheep milk curds and savoury pistachio praline was so delicate – each ingredient complimenting the others.
Then came the Broth of monkfish, mussels, Jersey royals and lovage. When Saff first read the menu I could tell by her face that she wasn’t too sure, but her empty bowl told a completely different story. Saff was expecting a heavy chowder type dish, this was the opposite – light yet creamy with a smooth, velvety texture.
The ‘main’ course of Grilled lamb, violet mustard, toasted grains and pickled vine leaves was my favourite. The Middle Eastern spiced lamb, expertly cooked over charcoal, matched perfectly with the naturally sweet and spicy violet mustard (blended freshly pressed red grape juice with just ground mustard seed.)
The dessert (although it could easily be served for breakfast) was a genius combo of Pearl barley, strained yoghurt, Tulameen raspberries and summer blossoms. Ollie described it as a cold rice pudding, using the pearl barley instead of rice, although it was much more than that. Not too sweet, in fact the biggest hit came from the tartness of the raspberries, with a touch of vanilla sneaking across your tongue like a teenager creeping through the backdoor after an all-nighter. The raspberry juice was light and fragrant, a welcome change from the sticky sickly sweet fruit coulis that is often served with this kind of pudding.
I purposely haven’t gone into too much detail as part of the charm (and that feeling of exclusivity) of attending a Taste Residence session is when the hosting chef introduces each course with such passion and detail. So if you are going to book tickets to see Ollie Dabbous at Taste of London, we wouldn’t want to spoil this for you and steal his thunder by listing every ingredient and taste sensation.
It goes without saying that Ollie is an amazing chef, what did surprise me was just how down-to-earth and charming he is. Saff even mentioned on Insta that I had developed a man-crush on the poor guy, maybe it was the fact I went all fan-boy and asked him to sign our menu.
But Ollie Dabbous isn’t the only top chef to be cooking at Taste Residence this June. This brand new, once-in-a-lifetime experience also features Alex Atala (two Michelin-starred D.O.M) and Ana Roš (The World’s Best Female Chef.) If that’s not enough, the Taste Residence is being curated by Andrea Petrini (Time Magazine’s number one ‘God of Food’) and will be hosted by maître d’ Paulo de Tarso (owner of Margot restaurant).
Tickets cost from £85 and includes fast-track entry to the Taste of London festival, The Residence session, access to the VIP Lounge, a glass of La Cuvee, £20 Taste Credit and a 2017 Taste Recipe Journal. For the most up-to-date info on the Residence click here.
Taste of London will take over Regent’s Park from 14th – 18th June and turn it into a magical foodie wonderland. Featuring 40 of London’s most exciting restaurants, the world’s greatest chefs, interactive masterclasses, top drink brands and live entertainment for five days of ‘gastronomical greatness’. Tickets (from £17) are on sale now.
We ate as guests of Taste of London, this does not affect our review in any way.
We always write with complete honesty.