London Restaurant Festival 2013

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At the top: Red ripple whippy on a red velvet cone. A laughable attempt at the classic whippy, for despite it’s fantastical Alice-in-Wonderland loopiness, the thing’s still a McDonald’s vanilla cone at heart. And apologies for the ghastly red nail.

Regent’s Street was full to brimming, even when the clouds above were hovering and pregnant with imminent rain. My uncle, grandmother and I fought to share one poor, battered black umbrella.

That man was staring at me in the eye, thinking, ‘oh these Asians nowadays, can’t do anything but take pictures. Always pictures, pictures, pictures’. Embarrassedly, I walked on into the frigid arena, crowded with long-legged socialites, dedicated foodies and yes, more cameras. This is the real life, people. You can’t walk anywhere in the 21st century and not document every precious, london-lit second. I was walking around starry-eyed, and believe it or not, the rain soon stopped. I swear.

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An innocent take on lamb rendang. It was superb, I must say, though a little too sweet for my liking and perhaps not spicy enough. Not one of the special highlights, but a calm starter.

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pulled pork shoulder with pickled red cabbage and a slice of cornbread

It’s around 11pm now and my mouth is watering at the sheer sight and memory of that gracious, sacrificed piece of meat. Good heavens it was good. The pulled pork was just, once again, perhaps a tad too sweet, but on the whole I couldn’t care less for it went so wonderfully with the soft bite of cabbage and buttery cornbread. The first forkful (which was not to mention, incredibly fork-tender) sent me to porky heaven. Dripping with marinade, slightly chewy, soft and sharp. How ridiculous.

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roasted apple ‘burger’ with caramelised onions, mayonnaise and pickles

How unusual! I exclaimed. I inched closer and closer to the little counter, and delicately asked for what they labelled as a roasted apple burger. Of course I didn’t expect much meat in it. I respected the fragility of a good roasted apple. The man at the front immediately placed a plate in front of my uncle and I, said ‘thank you miss’ and rushed away to attend to the bottomless mosh pit, armed with hunger and fuelled by the new London heat. The apple itself was soft, though not sappy and sloppy, with the perfect amount of filling. I loved the whole idea of an apple burger, and the size was so becoming.

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1. Pork and chilli dumplings. Altogether, really nothing outstanding, but I appreciated the insertion of Chinese cuisine amongst the oodles of burgers and Middle Eastern get-ups.

2. Oxtail doughnut with apricot jam. Yes, this was a glorious, fried, doughnut. A prying open of the crisp and battered surface, like golden, compressed crumbs, revealed a tender oxtail stew, coupled with a lightly sweet jam. What genius, what spectacular cruelty.

3. Lamb and yoghurt. You see a trend happening here?

4. And lastly, the best ice cream I have ever tasted in my life. Pictured is the banoffee flavour. We also tried the fresh berries and clotted cream, which was more subtle, less sickly sweet but just as magnificent. I never thought anything could beat the luxury of Haagen Dazs, but I guess I was wrong. Purbeck Ice Cream nourished my heart and soul for a good 5 days after my first bite. As creamy as a molten white river having just turned solid on a sudden snowy night, blessed with the richest virginal quality and orgasmic aftertaste.

One of the best days of my life, to put it lightly.

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