8 brave Taco Warriors, wielding their mighty spatulas and hot sauces did battle on Saturday afternoon to be crowned King Taco of London.
There could only be one winner though...
LET THE GAMES BEGIN!
Saturday afternoon me and Nessa (feeling a little peaky after Voodoo Blues the night before) arrived at Hawker House to nosh our way through 8 delicious Tacos and vote for the best.
The sun was shining, and so everyone was out for a good time. Of course a good cold drink was in order when the sun makes a rare appearance in England. We were all given a voting card and stamp booklet to trade n for one taco each from our brave culinary warriors.
We arrived pretty early, so no time like the present we were off to our first tasting- Kimchinary.
They were serving Beer Braised Pork Belly, pickled mustard seeds, Korean pear salsa, oyster kimchi, gochujang and pig crunch on a smoked pork fat and sesame tortilla. Sounds heavenly, but the proof is in the tasting.
Oh dear lord! An explosion of flavours, it pork fat just melted into my mouth. It was honestly so good. Mmmm.
Of course, we decided to take our duties very seriously, and started to make notes. Game is on now!
Next up we had B.O.B.'s Lobster - Sashimi Grade Ahi Tuna, wasabi guacamole, chipotle crema, Asian slaw and sesame seeds in a crispy wonton shell.
Such a pretty taco, I will give them that. It did taste strangely just like sushi. Very nice, and I did like how the wasabi wasn't too strong as I'm not a fan usually. It was good, but I wasn't blown away.
After a little breather, we headed over to the guys at Benito's Hat for Succulent Pork Belly, crispy chicharrón, shaved fennel, lime, roasted apple and habanero salsa in a homemade corn tortilla.
I'm typically British, so I just adore pork and crackling and the pork was the most tender I may have ever had. Delicious. However when there can only be one winner, I'm afraid it didn't do enough to knock Kimchinary off the top for me.
Now next was Luardos with their Grilled Skirt Steak, salsa roja, supersweet onions, coriander and lime in a homemade corn tortilla. Luardos were Taco Wars 1 winners from last year so we had very high expectations.
Me and Nessa both appreciated the use of steak as most were pork, however for me the over all flavour combination was quite... safe. It was extremely fresh, but when everyone else was going OTT it just didn't compare.
The sun really started to shine through the glass roof, and so another cold drink was in order. Margaritas slushy? Yes!
We then wandered over to the next stand to see what delights we would be treated to...
We did a little double take. Pigs Head, Belly and Trotter, burnt spring onion crema and blood orange pico. PIGS HEAD? TROTTER? I know I'm usually up for anything but this was a little... strange shall we say.
Oh well, in my quest for the best, never say never.
And boy am I glad I did. I know it sounds rather unpleasant, but it was in fact so delicious, I would happily eat another, after another. So here's my motherly piece of advice to you, always try something once, you just never know!
After some down time chatting and readjusting out belts, we headed over to BBQ Lab. I've seen these guys at Kerb before and they have always got be excited. Think culinary chemistry.
Hickory Smoked Peanut Butter Jelly Pork Belly, popcorn pudding, pineapple salsa, Dr. Pepper gel and Pickleback sour cream in a 100% pork loin tortilla. Could it be any madder? I enjoyed it, but we couldn't work out the flavours, the tortilla sort of tasted a bit like hallomi- good but very odd.
Next we headed to Santo Remedio for a completely different taco. Chargrilled Octopus marinated in Pasilla de Oaxaca chillies with black beans, yerba santa and serrano aioli served in an avocado leaf. I do love octopus and it was beautifully done. Fresh, flavoursome and the aoili was had that great tang. However it wasn't the near the top for us.
However we did love them because they threw in a shot of... errr... I'm not going to lie, by this point I just don't know.
Finally we had our last taco from Breddos. A Chipotle and Bone Marrow Roasted Short Rib, barbecue Guinness brisket and smoked cherry marmalade in a homemade beef dripping tortilla. Ok that was good. Very very good!
While everyone bowed their heads in secret and started voting we cooled off from all the chilli heat with some ice cream from Black Vanilla.
So who did I vote for? It had to be Kimchinary for me.
But who actually won?
Congrats Breddos, but in my humble view it was still these guys- Kimchinary. Delicious!
The next event by the same guys; Tweat Up, is Auction Against Hunger. Tickets on sale now.