Wednesday 19 June 2019

Taste of London 2019: Dance of the tastes

Taste of London transforms Regent’s Park into the ultimate foodie paradise for five days each year. A delicious medley of dining, drinking, and live entertainment, Taste has been called one of the ‘world’s greatest restaurant festival’ and is a must-visit for fans of all things gourmet. Indulge in signature dishes from some of the capital’s top-rated restaurants, watch live demos by the hottest chefs in town, and sample everything from the finest whiskies to the most unique ingredients as you browse and buy from the 200-plus market producers.

The open air celebrations will be showcasing London’s culinary talent, with plenty of dishes, activities and cooking demonstrations to keep your tastebuds tingling throughout its five-day tenure. The sun might not quite have come out for the first night of Taste of London - but the weekend ahead is looking pretty good if you're thinking of heading over to Regent's Park. I went along to the first night of this year's event to try some of the food and drink on offer - here are my personal top picks...

I started to try with Burger and Lobster's Taste exclusive and never-seen-before take on the classic: Lobster MacnCheese! Tender Canadian lobster and macaroni pasta stirred through melted mozzarella and a mature cheddar cheese sauce and paired it with a glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne. I literally love it! It is a dish that I can eat everyday!

Then I continued with a Michelin Starred Restaurant: Club Gascon and tried this Duck foie gras catalane with spicy tipsy cherry - sweet, sour, savoury, this dish has it all. I paired it with a glass of Johnnie Walker and it really went well!

Another favourite is Claw's mini crab roll! It has salcombe crab, lemon mayo and a delicious brioche roll that you can eat everyday😍 (£5)

One of the newbie's of London; Wildflower Restarurant prepared deep fried oysters with Harissa sauce! This one is also a musthave👌 (£5) I paired it with a glass of Hattingley white wine, which I can recommend to you either.

As a scallop fan I went to Enoteca Rabezzana to try this Scallop, celeriac, Mushroom Powder and Black Truffle dish. Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointment though! It contained only one mini scallop with a sauce (£6), so it was a bit unworthy...

Another disappointment was Chotto Matte's Nikkei Sashimi (£5) The ingredients: Yellowtail, cherry tomatoes, jalapeno, yuzu and truffle soy. It was fine but again not made a difference!

As the official beer sponsor of Taste of London, Chang is joining forces with four London-based Thai restaurants to showcase a range of signature home dishes in what it's calling Chang Sensory Trails. Each dish will be entirely unique and inspired by the respective head chefs of each restaurant. Soho-based Wild Rice will be serving its trademark Thai fried chicken; Nipa will be serving its traditional tod mun pla (a classic Thai fish cake made with sweet chilli sauce, mixed cucumber relish and toasted peanuts); Greyhound Café will be serving hot oil pork knuckle with spicy tamarind curry paste, jaew sauce and sticky rice basket; and 101 Kitchen is creating a spicy fish salad, giving the classic Thai salad an Isaan and Laotian twist. Chang's beer will also be available at all bars throughout the festival, including the Diners Club VIP Lounge and around the Chang Music Stage. Cheers to that.

One of my favourite is Frontier with a colourful stand and their delicious lager beers. Many Londoners agreed with me as seen and we all cheered up together! 40 other best restaurants of London were there as Som Saa, Rovi, Brigadiers, Smokestak, Kym’s, Bun House, Hoppers, Bao, Bar Douro, 1251, Berenjak and Trishna’s will all be cooking up a storm. Kobus van der Merwe of Wolfgat in South Africa is even flying his entire team over for a very spesh residency at the festival and it’ll be your first chance to check out Egglsut ahead of the restaurant opening later this summer.

Around the site there's the chance to buy exclusive produce while soaking up all the atmosphere of a summer festival. Live music stands can be found dotted throughout the grounds, while experience-led bars provide the chance to enjoy champagne and craft beer tasting, or cocktail making. At the Laurent-Perrier street food masterclass where CuvĂ©e RosĂ© will be paired with dishes from traders like Bob’s Lobster, Pizza Pilgrims, Hotbox, Santo Remedio and Yum Bun. World Class Drinks will also be hosting sessions, including cocktail masterclasses at the Ketel One Kitchen and Johnnie Walker Discovery Bar, and a sensory flavour journey at the House of Tanqueray at No. Ten. Stretchy trousers at the ready, there’s a lot of eating and drinking to do.

Do not miss it and just taste it 😉

Friday 10 May 2019

Dorothea Tanning: Discover the Woman who pushed the boundaries of Surrealism!

Yesterday I had a chance to view Dorothea Tanning exhibition at Tate Modern. This is the first large-scale exhibition of Dorothea Tanning’s work for 25 years. It brings together 100 works from her seven-decade career – from enigmatic paintings to uncanny sculptures.

Tanning wanted to depict ‘unknown but knowable states’: to suggest there was more to life than meets the eye. She first encountered surrealism in New York in the 1930s. In the 1940s, her powerful self-portrait Birthday 1942 attracted the attention of fellow artist Max Ernst – they married in 1946. 

Her work from this time combines the familiar with the strange, exploring desire and sexuality. From the 1950s, now working in Paris, Tanning’s paintings became more abstract, and in the 1960s she started making pioneering sculptures out of fabric. A highlight of the exhibition is the room-sized installation Chambre 202, Hotel du Pavot 1970-3. This sensual and eerie work features bodies growing out the walls of an imaginary hotel room. 

In later life, Tanning dedicated more of her time to writing. Her last collection of poems, Coming to That, was published at the age of 101.​

The exhibition surveys the seventy-year career of Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012), whose work always asks us to look beyond the obvious. As a young artist in 1930s New York she discovered surrealism and what she described as the ‘limitless expanse of POSSIBILITY’ it offered. The movement, which had emerged in Paris in the 1920s, explored the hidden workings of the mind as a source of art and writing. Working in the United States and France, Tanning took its ideas and imagery in new, distinctive directions. This exhibition focuses on key themes and developments in Tanning’s practice across her long and extraordinary career. It is a must see exhibition to take a different view on an artist's evolution! 

Sunday 5 May 2019

A Hidden Gem: Homage Restaurant at The Waldorf Hilton

With towering Edwardian columns, high ceilings, sparkling chandeliers and gilded detailing, Homage Restaurant pays tribute to the grand cafés of Europe. The restaurant offers traditional English dishes tempered with a twist of modern European, whilst the resident pianist soothes guests from the moment they arrive.

Homage at The Waldorf serves a modern and eclectic menu, drawing on world flavours, using contemporary and classic cooking techniques and the best of seasonal British produce. Homage pays tribute to the grand cafĂ©s of Europe and provides an intimate space away from the commotion of the city. Dishes match the dĂ©cor, with mouth-watering menus delivering classic English fare tempered with a modern European twist, exquisitely presented and full of taste and texture.

We chose a three course menu which includes a starter, a main and a desert with one glass of wine. Our starters were pea and mint veloute with mint crĂšme fraiche soup for my friend and Pickled mackerel, basil, spinach, pineapple & red pepper for myself. Soup was not heavy as we thought and it was delicious; we love it. But Mackarel was better than that; I prefer to eat a bigger portion as a main instead starter.  Spinach, pineapple and basil was a really great mix for the base; it was delicious.

For main course: my friend chose poached supreme of chicken with buttered Swiss chard, carrot textures and tarragon emulsion and I continued with fish by choosing Roasted hake fillet, potato, chive and parsley, ratatouille, spinach, caper brown butter. I would like to tell you that, the chicken is a better choice for main because hake was a bit over cooked and tasteless. Also, I think it would be better if they put some asparagus into the plate instead of that much potato. 

As a desert; Exotic fruit platter, spiced syrup and passion fruit sorbet and for me Milk chocolate delice, coffee ice cream, chocolate, mascarpone. How can you go wrong with a fruit platter? It was all good but sorbet is the best thing on this plate. On the other hand, milk delice was light and delicious and all of the pieces became a really good combination. 

Service was excellent throughout the meal, which worked well through pretty much all the dishes except hake. We paid £80 + %12.5 service charge whic is a good deal for London and this calibre restaurant. Surrounded by celebrated London theatres, Homage at The Waldorf Aldwych is a very good choice after or before the play and it is only 6 minutes’ walk from Covent Garden Tube Station. 

Friday 3 May 2019

Special Exhibition: Edward Munch: Love and Angst!

Yesterday I went to the British Museum for a very special exhibition: Edward Munch: Love and Angst. The creator of art's most haunting and iconic face: The Scream. A radical father of Expressionism. British Museum Curators say: He is Norway’s answer to Vincent van Gogh. But who was real Edvard Munch? I knew his story if life but wanted to see more what is going on the inside of him! Moreover, wanted to discover this pioneering, subversive artist as the British Museum lifts the veil on his life and works in the largest show of his prints in the UK for 45 years.

Born in 1863 in Kristiania (modern-day Oslo), Norway, Edvard Munch is one of the pioneers of modern art, best known for his arresting work, The Scream. Despite creating one of the most famous pieces of art in the world, surprisingly, the man behind the icon isn’t as well known as contemporaries such as Vincent van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec or Paul Gauguin.

“We do not want pretty pictures to be hung on drawing-room walls. We want... an art that arrests and engages. An Art of one’s innermost heart.” – Edvard Munch

The emotional intensity of The Scream has reverberated through history, speaking to generations. The fact that it needs no explanation is arguably one of its strengths. Yet perhaps it is also the reason that, beyond his name, so little is known about its creator – The Scream speaks for itself. Although it has become a universal symbol of human anxiety, it is a deeply personal response to Munch’s upbringing and experiences as a young artist.

Looking at the cities of pre-war Oslo, Berlin and Paris, the exhibition shows how new ideas about personal and political independence gave rise to an important voice. Visceral, rebellious and hungry for new experiences, Munch rejected his strict Lutheran upbringing to pursue an unconventional lifestyle. He travelled across Europe, drawing artistic inspiration from the bohemian circles he encountered and his passionate love affairs. Munch’s work articulated his experiences of life in a rapidly changing Europe, that was to be shattered by the first global industrialised conflict.

In this collaborative exhibition, you can discover how he mastered the art of printmaking and explore his remarkable body of work. Munch’s innovative techniques, bold use of colour and dark subject matter resonated with shifting attitudes – and mark him out as one of the first truly ‘modern’ artists. But as a criticism; I would expect to see the most iconic works of the artist like ' The Scream' - original one - or Golgotha etc. It is a bit disappointing but when you think this is the biggest exhibition about Munch in the last 50 years, you need to see it.

Wednesday 1 May 2019

Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory

At the beginning of May, last days of the exhibition, I visited Tate Modern for Pierre Bonnard exhibition. This is the first major exhibition of Bonnard’s work in the UK since the much-loved show at Tate 20 years ago. It is a good opportunity to allow new generations to discover Bonnard’s unconventional use of colour, while surprising those who think they already know him.

Born 1867, Bonnard was, with Henri Matisse, one of the greatest colourists of the early 20th century. He preferred to work from memory, imaginatively capturing the spirit of a moment and expressing it through his unique handling of colour and innovative sense of composition.

The exhibition concentrates on Bonnard’s work from 1912, when colour became a dominant concern, until his death in 1947. It presents landscapes and intimate domestic scenes which capture moments in time – where someone has just left the room, a meal has just finished, a moment lost in the view from the window, or a stolen look at a partner.

Bonnard, was also a member of Les Nabis, a group of artists working at that time. They included artists such as Edouard Vuillard and Paul Serusier.
Nabis comes from the Hebrew word for prophet. These painters saw themselves as prophets of modern art. They favoured a bold, but simplified style of painting.
Les Nabis used flat patches of colour, and admired Japanese prints and the work of Paul Gauguin. Gauguin was known for experimenting with colour. Bonnard worked in the years following Gauguin's death in 1903 and was directly influenced by his style.

This is a very comprehensive exhibition; if you have an interest for impressionism and French Art you must definitely see the exhibition and you can have a lunch on Tate Restaurant after visiting the exhibition and try Pierre Bonnard special menu.