Get a taste of London with the London Restaurant Festival.
You know what’s better than a pub crawl? A food crawl. Well, at least for foodies (especially for this tee-total food blogger).
Okay, the London Food Festival is a lot more civilised. It was more like a food waddle, for we had the pleasure of trying six restaurants. That’s right, you need two hands to count the number of restaurants we visited in five hours.
Victoria, SW1, isn’t somewhere I’ve eaten at a lot, so I was more than happy to attend the Victoria Restaurant Hopping Tour (thanks Zomato!). Little tasters from top quality restaurants and a glass of wine served with most makes £60 a ticket terrific value.
At your first location, you’ll receive a ‘passport’ which gives you more information on each restaurant, what’s on the London Restaurant Festival menu and a map.
Daylesford Farm, 44B Pimlico Road, SW1W 8LP
I’m a huge fan of Ethos Foods (review) which is built on the same healthy principles so I was looking forward to sampling Daylesford’s cold press juices which pack an incredible amount of nutrients for well-being and health.
The Balanced (green) juice was made from green apples, cucumber, spianch, kale, romaine lettuce, parsley. celery, lemon and ginger (providing 165% RDA of collagen). The Vibrant (orange) juice consisted of carrot, apple, ginger, celery, lemon and chia seeds (providing entire RDA of vitamin A). Both certainly pack a zingy punch, just what my taste buds needed after a full day of drinking coffee.
Winter is coming and the beef broth was soup for the soul on a chilly October night. The stock used for the base in particular is packed with a meaty flavour. It’s easy to see why they’ve won over 60 awards over the last few years.
Tozi, 8 Gillingham Street, SW1V 1HJ
Tozi is an Italian bar and restaurant specialising in Venetian cicchetti (small plates) and Italian cocktails. I love the idea of having small plates because you can order many, share and have a little bit of everything. Which is lucky because you’ll want to try everything on Tozi’s menu.
On the Victoria London Tour, you have the choice of pizzetta tomato, mozzarella and Salame piccante, burrata, heritage tomatoes and basil (v), gratinated scallops, Venetian style, buffalo ricotta ravioli, black truffle (v). I chose the later.
The dish was indulgently creamy with the thick pasta ravioli combining with the even thicker buffalo ricotta.
Iberica, 68 Victoria Street, SW1E 6SQ
We moved from the small plates restaurant to another, the Iberica near Cardinal Place shopping centre.
This Spanish restaurant is the creation of three-Michelin starred executive chef Nacho Manzano and group head chef, Cesar Garcia. I’ve walked past the Canary Wharf Iberica restaurant lots of times so was glad to finally get a chance try a taster of the menu. I’ll be back to try the rest.
Known for their tapas, cured meats and menu which celebrates Spanish gastronomy, on the Victoria Tour you can sample the Iberica serrano ham croquettes, gorgeous bites of soft and fluffy filling peppered by crunchy breadcrumbs.
Adam Handling At Caxton, 2 Caxton Street, SW1H OQW
The restaurant I was looking forward to most was Adam Handling At Caxton having been awarded 3 AA rosettes.
It was a tough choice between wild bass and balsamic or celeriac, apple, creme, fraiche and truffle, but the latter just sounded more intriguing, particularly as this would be the first time I would be trying celeriac which is a variety of celery.
Beautifully presented, the dish is an interesting and inventive combination with the thin strips of sour apple battling against the creamy rich creme fraiche filling. I probably wouldn’t have celeriac again if I’m honest. I found the taste too overpowering and didn’t enjoy the raw crunchy texture. I wished I chose the more familiar wild bass. Oh food envy, long time no se… oh wait. Food envy follows me like a shadow.
Mango Tree, 46 Grosvenor Place, SW1X 7EQ
At this point in the night, I was craving some dessert. If you’ve read my London food reviews before, you’ll know I have a (massive) sweet tooth.
And while the soft shell crab with thai mango salad did sound delicious, I made up my mind instantly to have the mango sticky rice pudding.
Thai cuisine isn’t the first that would jump out at me when I think of desserts. But maybe I need to explore a little further into thai desserts. I loved having Ambrosia rice puddings when I was wee, but this takes it to another level. Sticky and sweet, it definitely satisfied my sweet tooth.
Pont St, 20 Chesham Place, SW1X 8HQ
Last and by no means least on our restaurant hopping tour around Victoria was Pont St.
I didn’t think I could eat another bite, but just look at that plate – it would be rude to refuse!
Serving an impressive and varied menu from breakfast to dinner, if I could only return to one restaurant on the Victoria Food Tour, it would be Pont St. because all of the menu looks so good and I’d be intrigued to try more.
And also because the venison loin and butternut squash was delicious.
As you can probably tell, I loved my experience of the London Restaurant Hopping Tour. I’ve found some restaurants I’ll definitely be returning to. It was also a great way to discover more of the Victoria area and walk/get some fresh air between eating.
And this was just one tour of London’s top restaurants. Other restaurant hopping tours available are:
- Tapas Tour
- Seven Dials
- Carnaby Village
- Victoria Tour
- Japanese Journey
Interested? Of course you are. Buy tickets for the London Restaurant Festival and find out which restaurants are taking part on each tour.