North London's Cultural Guide

Taste of London: 18th anniversary festival starts in Regent’s Park

NW1's original food and drink festival is back for an epic 5-day celebration this week

We’ve been round these parts for so long we went to the first ever Taste of London, back in the summer of 2004, at Somerset House. And yes, we remember it clearly: something of a pioneer, its sheer number of stalls and booze outlets alike left us giddy to say the least.

Over the years, we’ve returned again and again to its now long-running home bang in the middle of Regent’s Park. But it’s still hard to believe this week it celebrates its 18th Birthday.

Taste Of London. Photo: Jenna Foxton

So what’s the skinny this year? Well, there are 36 restaurants, 150 dishes, hundreds of artisan producers and as usual, some of the best chefs and restaurateurs in the capital.

Once again it’s an easy way to embrace different cuisines from around the globe, from Spanish plates at Bibo by Michelin-starred Dani Garc​​ía (the oxtail brioche, which we enjoyed on the opening night, is stunning) to award-winning neighbourhood Italian restaurant Cin Cin. Other faves are Euston’s Malaysian hot spot Roti King, tapas at the iconic Brindisa and everything at Dalston’s Angelina, whose lobster and crab donut, pictured below, is probably the festival’s ‘must-try’.


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Angelina
Lobster and crab donut at Angelina, Taste 2022. Photo: Stephen Emms

And some positive changes, too. This year they’ve partnered with Be Inclusive Hospitality, which is on a mission to accelerate racial equality in the hospitality sector. You’ll be able to sample delicious dishes from a host of Black-owned restaurants, including jerk chicken from East London’s Rhythm Kitchen, Brit-Caribbean fusion combos at Wood and Water, and chef Adejoké ‘Joke’ Bakaré’s award-winning modern West African restaurant Chishuru (tip: order the sensationally tender, flavour-packed bavette with yaji and red onion).

Taste of London 2022
Launch night, Taste of London 2022. Photo: SE

Thirsty? The 25 – count ’em – bars include Aspall Cyder House, De’Longhi Coffee Bar (which serves Espresso Martinis), the Mirabeau rose stand and the elegant Italicus spritz garden (our recommendation for a summery cocktail in nice, loungey surroundings). Meanwhile, the Diners Club Cook School provides a stage for the capital’s most sought-after chefs with a focus on “Dine for Change” targeting food waste and sustainability. Another highlight is TV chef and rapper Big Zuu at the Fire Pit with Food Network (the smells emanating from it are mouthwatering).

And finally, take part in live discussions with British-Iranian chef and food writer Sabrina Ghayour and Chantelle Nicholson, head chef of newly opened Mayfair restaurant Apricity, the first-ever chef to receive the new Michelin Green Star.

An epic (and sweltering) 18th birthday, all in all. As we agreed at sunset on our way out, Regent’s Park has never felt more magical.

Taste Of London, 15th – 19th June, Regents’ Park, tickets and info here.

Article updated 16th June post-launch.


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