Monday, 31 May 2010

Taste Festival, Edinburgh

Taste of Edinburgh weekend was here again, a chance to sample specially prepared menus from some of the best restaurants in the city. There was also classes and demonstrations, not to mention a wide variety of exhibitors at the producer's market.
London will see their festival in June and Taste of Birmingham is on in July.
I was surprised to see half as many people in than there was last year. Maybe this had something to do with the extremely cold weather or it could have been the pricey tickets that are 16 pounds each, if you buy them on the day. We bought ours months ago and got them for next to nothing and I heard that they were giving away free tickets during the week as well. But you still have to pay for your food. 
Taste festival has got their own currency called 'crown' and this is used to pay for all goods purchased. This year I finally understood why that is... so you don't realize how much you're actually spending! In the end, the food is quite expensive. Almost all the dishes we had were ten crowns each, that being five pounds and they are starter size portions. Ouch, I say, but worth it if you love food. And I know for sure that I will still be going again next year, no matter what.
'Curry in a hurry' was our first sample, Tony's mum's chickpea curry with potatoes and sambals from Tony's Table. One of my favourite of the bunch, I decided later when I was summing it all up!
'Butts in buns with Asian slaw', pulled Perthshire pork with ugly bread focaccia and spiced slaw also from Tony's Table, was nice but I preferred the curry. We also got a chance to see the man himself, Tony Singh, and I was surprised to find him super-friendly and very approachable. So lovely, actually, that I really want to go for lunch there as soon as possible!
'The Mal Burger' from Malmaison was good last year, and this year their burger made from naturally reared ground beef with Gruyere cheese and bacon was sensationally good. The sauce was out of this world and to my disappointment there was no chips with it like they had the year before, but hey-ho. Mr Lovable wanted to have two of these...
'Ravioli di asparagi', pasta parcel with green asparagus from Cucina at Hotel Missoni, was nothing special: quite bland tasting and barely warm. Their service was rude and ignorant to the point that for a moment I thought of not ordering anything. Well, I should have... at least I know now to avoid this place.
Hot Aberdeen butterie with Patullo's asparagus, crowdie and Lanark Blue with watercress and walnuts, dressed with cold pressed rape seed oil from The Scottish Cafe&Restaurant, very Scottish tasting and Mr Lovable's favourite. Their service was amazing, everyone seemed to be welcomed with a big smile by the owner and he managed to make me feel like we were old friends when I chatted to him!
 Lapsang tea-smoked salmon with ponzu and Japanese wands from Waitrose Kitchen. Pea shoots and smoked salmon were just a perfect match and it looked so very pretty on the plate, too!
Roasted beef fillet with black truffles, watercress and early potatoes from Launceston Place and Action Against Hunger. Can I just say that I'm not a big fan of beef like steaks and big lumps of it, and was a bit apprehensive when I saw this in front of me. But the meat was so beautifully cooked and tender that I could have had more!
This was Taste of Edinburgh's first ever Celebrity Chef Charity Pop-Up restaurant, menu by Tristan Welch. 'The restaurant has been stocked by donated supplies and is run by generous, talented staff who have donated their time for the cause'. All proceeds from the restaurant were donated to Action Against Hunger. I am hoping to see more stuff like this next year...
'Rhubarb and custard', poached rhubarb, rhubarb jelly, vanilla custard and crystallised rhubarb from The Rutland Hotel, first dessert to sample. Very nice, wouldn't mind going here for dinner one night...
Marmalade and whisky ice cream served in a sugar cone from Amber was one mouthful of beautifully presented homemade ice cream.
'We Scream', soft vanilla ice cream with Tony's Table monkey blood from Tony's Table was just soft ice cream from a machine with a bit of berry coulis on top. At least they've got sense of humor in this place!
Chocolate mousse with strawberries, coconut whip and hazelnut crackling from Waitrose Kitchen. The bottom part with strawberries and chocolate was good but the 'coconut whip' was made form canned whipped cream! What's that all about, Waitrose? 

So that was what the Taste Festival 2010 tasted for me ... where do I want to go for a meal after all this? Tony's Table for sure, The Scottish Cafe&Restaurant and Centotre, Tony's Table sitting smiling on the top of my wish list!
opportunity to meet famous chefs

chance to sample new restaurants

blueberries and strawberries from Good Natured, I have never tasted berries that good!

Inverleith Park, Edinburgh, 28-30 June


  1. I agree Tony's Table was one of the best exhibitors there with regards to the offering on the day. Piggy in the middle was so so tasty, I had two then a close second was the Rutland's Lamb dish. Well done everyone this years taste has far exceeded previous years with exception to the weather!

  2. Hi and thanks for stopping by! Can't wait what there will be to taste next year...