The 2011 London Restaurant Festival launches today, marking the start of a two-week celebration of dining out in the capital, with more than 800 participating restaurants.
Now in its third year, the festival will run until 17 October and feature a host of events including the restaurant on the London Eye, which this year will be manned by celebrated chefs including Jason Atherton, Pierre Koffmann, Hélène Darroze and Marcus Wareing.
High end German contract caterer Kofler & Kompanie, famous for its Pret à Diner pop-up restaurants, is making its UK debut with a temporary restaurant and art exhibition entitled Minotaur located in the tunnels beneath the Old Vic theatre near Waterloo.
Other events will include walking gourmet odysseys in Soho, Mayfair, Covent Garden and Clerkenwell where diners will walk between different restaurants from course to course; and a tapas passport allowing punters to enjoy a different dish and glass of wine at different tapas restaurants.
There will also be gourmet odysseys on London buses; a food quiz held at the Criterion on Piccadilly as well as participating pubs; and the Great Food Debate on ‘There Is No Such Thing As Ethnic Food' featuring AA Gill, Jonathan Meades, Clarissa Dickson Wright and Hardeep Singh.
Department store Fortnum & Mason will host a culinary carnival at its Gallery restaurant featuring Michelin-starred chefs from outside the capital, including Sat Bains, Shaun Hill, Adam Simmonds and Nathan Outlaw.
The London Restaurant Festival will culminate in an awards ceremony to be held at the Old Spitalfields Market.
Ticket prices start at £10 and are available from the London Restaurant Festival's website.
The London Restaurant Festival was created by the London Evening Standard‘s food critic Fay Maschler and Simon Davis, who together run restaurant consultancy Private View, and this year has the support of VisitBritain and tourism minister John Penrose.
By Kerstin Kühn
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