Monday, 19 October 2009

London Restaurant Festival Awards at Pizza East

Last Tuesday (13 October) was the final day of the London Restaurant Festival and I was helping out at the inaugural awards. Details of the winners are on the official site. The awards were in the fashionable east-end in Shoreditch House.

I helped to shepherd the guests and keep order amongst the assembled rabble! I recognised a few faces most notably Richard Corrigan (Corrigan's and Bentley's), Jun Tanaka (Pearl), Thomisina Miers (Wahaca), Silvena Rowe, Tristan Welch (Launceston Place) and Oliver Rowe (Konstam). There were also a few notable critics: Faye Maschler of the Evening Standard (obviously), Charles Campion, Giles Coren (The Sunday Times) and Tom Parker-Bowles (Mail on Sunday).

The after party was held next door in Pizza East which was in preview mode and only officially opened on Friday. I must admit I absolutely relished my opportunity to eat in a restaurant before it opened. Basically there was no ordering we were just pumped full of dishes:

  • Marinated olives, Marcona almonds - the most delicious olives I have ever had
  • Wood roasted bone marrow, radish, parsley, rustic bread - unfortunate burnt offerings with very little marrow left to enjoy
  • Lamb meatballs, tomato sauce - I'm a sucker for meatballs and these were good
  • Wood roasted mussels, garlic fennel aioli - No, no, no
  • Cauliflower carbonara - cauliflower cheese with pancetta. High-end comfort food.
  • Anya potatoes, bottarga, shaved egg, parsley, mascarpone - Lovely, a very unusual potato salad
  • Calamari, caper aioli - surely no one enjoys rubbery squid?
  • Soft polenta, chicken livers, salsa rossa calabrese - a revelation. Delicious polenta (with an soft texture) and perfect chicken livers.
  • Board of Mortadella, Gorgonzola Dolce, Prosciutto and Paglierna - great produce. You can't go wrong with this.
  • Margherita, tomato, mozzarella di bufula, basil, olive oil - burnt crust that was far too crispy
  • Tomato, anchovies, olives, capers - the anchovies over-powered everything
  • Speck, tomato, mozzarella, rocket - the best of the lot
  • Wild rocket, shaved fennel, almonds, parmesan, lemon, extra virgin olive oil - dear Lord. Atrocious salad with rubbery cheese and an inedible acidic dressing
Wood Oven
  • Sea bass, butternut squash, puntarelle, pumpkin seed vinaigrette - well cooked sea bass destroyed by too sweet butternut squash. No, no, no.
  • Lemon pot - a perfect blend of creamy tart sweetness
  • Hot cinnamon sugar doughnuts, Valrhona chocolate - Tasty doughnuts let down by a very lacklustre sauce
  • Fig cornmeal cake - very light
  • Salted chocolate caramel tart - AMAZING. Best dish by a long way. Phenomenal blend of sweet, salt and bitter in a very short crust. DELICIOUS!
The LRF blog has more details.

On the way out we got a goodie bag of biscotti.

I had these for elevenses (and threeses) over the next few days and by jove, what a treat they were. Delicious crunchy biscuits with pistachios and raisins embedded in them. Absolutely tremendous dunked in coffee to soften them a little.

Although the festival is finished for this year, Kauffman's pop-up restaurant at Selfridges is still open. I wander if there are any tables going...


  1. Elaine, you can post a comment.

  2. here is my comment
    i didn't realise you had to press 'preview'
    anyway, don't use my name it's meant to be anonymous!

  3. You don't have to press 'preview'.

    Also Anonymous, how do I know you are Elaine? You are anonymous!


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