Review of 'Taste of London at Christmas (2016)'


I am a big fan of the Taste of London shows (see Taste of London) as they give me a chance to try food from a number of the cities' best restaurants for not a lot of money never mind meeting chefs I admire. The large assortment of stalls selling food and drink are also a highlight. I do not tend to be interesting in seeing the cooking displays and demonstrations - They do tend to be a bit on the small side when compared to other shows (such as The Foodies Festival) and I am more interested in visiting the restaurants and exhibits first and foremost (I can see cooking demonstrations on television and I can go to a cooking class for something more hands on, but where can you try all these wonderful food dishes for this cost?). The quality here is certainly quite amazing.

There were a number of nice little nooks set up throughout Tobacco Dock which was a good use of the space. We particularly enjoyed the Piano Bar…

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…and the DJ Bar…

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There were a number of different areas with food/drink sellers and restaurants set up as well as the ubiquitous “lounges” for those interested in more speciality drinks and experiences.

As far as the restaurants are concerned normally you have to pay with Taste tokens (that you purchase as 1 = £1) but they have come into the modern age and now all restaurants here accepted cards though still not cash (as they likely do not want to have cash in their display). I started with a “Short Rib Empanada” from the Mole Taco Bar (£5) which was a bit bland but wonderfully crispy with deliciously moist rib meat inside.

At Tredwells my companion tried the “Crispy cod cheeks with kimchee and buttermilk” (£5) which was quite delicious with an odd, modern take on kimchee that “…was not really sour and it wasn't hot by any means” and certainly lacked the large pieces of cabbage you would normally expect. We noticed here that their chef, Marcus Wareing was signing his latest book so I decided to take the plunge (a good book by the way, full of practical home cooking ideas)…

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Continuing our trip around we headed into the basement where I stopped at Kurobuta, a Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant that was serving “takoyaki” (here called “Octopus Donuts”; £5) that were absolutely delicious - Wonderfully crunchy on the outside with an amazing sauce (indeed, they were so popular I actually had the last order as they ran out)…

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We noticed that José Pizarro, a spanish chef I recognized from television, was cooking barbecue on the “green eggs” that chefs seem to like using now, in the middle of the basement courtyard where Kurobuta was found. Nearby I picked up a coupon for one of the dishes he was preparing, “5J Presa Iberica with salvichada (similar to romesco)” (£7, their “icon dish”) which was two pieces of delicious iberica beef that I really enjoyed…delicious…

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Finally I queued for quite some time at the “Action Against Hunger” stall that was selling burgers prepared by Michelean-starred chefs (it was the “five star” cafe as it had five chefs with one star each), I had the “icon dish” which was the burger served with sweet potato fries and Padron peppers (£10) which was absolutely delicious.

The stalls were all very good though the space was often extremely crowded making getting around very difficult. We did manage to pick up a number of interesting items and try a number of samples. The stall owners were very helpful and willing to answer questions.

Verdict: Very crowded and often expensive, this is still the best food market at Christmas in London. A great selection of food producers, restaurants and chefs that you can get up close to. Very good indeed…

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2016-11-20

Tobacco Dock

Location: London (England)

Address: Dock, Tobacco Quay,, Wapping Ln, London E1W 2DA ENGLAND

Public Transport: NRLOGO Shadwell London Overground TUBE Tower Hill

Telephone: +44 (0) 207 680 4001


The biggest problem I have with Tobacco Dock is the fact it is quite difficult to get to. The second problem I have with it is that it is largely open to the elements. Composed of a number of smaller, awkwardly sized, spaces it often feels a bit cramped. There are two levels: Ground and basement with the basement space slightly smaller.

Tabacco Dock has an amazing, relaxed, atmosphere and always makes for an interesting visit.