Following the success of last year's London Restaurant Festival, this celebration of eating out in the capital returns once again to give food lovers the chance to sample the fine range of cuisines on offer from top chefs and local restaurants and bistros throughout London.
Until 18 October, the citywide festival sees hundreds of London restaurants offering individual "Festival Menus". It's a great opportunity to try out those restaurants you've always wanted to sample and you will get to choose from a range of special, well-priced set menus.
The festival's buzz has spread across the city, with some of the more high-profile events - including well-known chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Angela Hartnett and Giorgio Locatelli - cooking for groups of ten in a capsule of the London Eye, already sold out.
Many of the walking and routemaster tours of restaurants around London - or "Gourmet Odysseys" - have just a few places left. These gastronomic adventures are on Saturday 9 October and Saturday 16 October, and take in a different restaurant for each of the three courses, plus a champagne reception. For details, visit visitlondon.com/londonrestaurantfestival.
The Festival's Big Debate (Tuesday 12 October at King's Place, 90 York Way, N1) promises to be a "highly entertaining food fight" as speakers including broadcaster Janet Street-Porter and London's chair of Food Rosie Boycott propose the motion that French cuisine is a spent force. Guests are treated to drinks and a selection of French or British canapés before the debate kicks off. Tickets cost £18.50 at kingsplace.co.uk.
For real foodies who think they know their onions, don't miss the Big Quiz hosted by Rowley Leigh at his London restaurant Le Café Anglais (8 Porchester Gardens, W2) on Monday 11 October. Legendary quizmaster Anne Robinson will be putting teams through their paces, and for £50 each you can sample the restaurant's special Festival Menu. To book email email@example.com quoting reference "The Big Quiz".
A New York-style Street Kitchen - in the form of a vintage airstream caravan - is serving gourmet "street food" - until 14 October at Covent Garden and from 15-18 October at Old Spitalfields Market - championing the fresh ingredients available in the UK at this time of year, including home-smoked salmon, delicious braised featherblade of beef and a tempting cheesecake with blackberries and shortbread. If you like what you've sampled, you can buy directly from the the Street Kitchen's suppliers market at Covent Garden. For more details, visit streetkitchen.co.uk.
The Festival Market at Old Spitalfields Market is a free-entry event hosting stalls from restaurants throughout London, and this year the heady aromas of Malaysian and Mexican food will be tempting the tastebuds, along with Roast restaurant's famous hog roast, oysters and champagne from the McManus Brothers and various stalls from independent small producers. Market days are 11-13 October and 15-16 October (12pm-6pm); and Sunday 17 October (9am-6pm).
Culinary tips from the experts
To celebrate this year's London Restaurant Festival, Theo Randall, head chef of the award-winning Italian Restaurant at The InterContinental Park Lane in Mayfair has revealed his fabulous chocolate cake recipe to Homes & Property readers. And Francesco Mazzei, Chef Patron at Italian restaurant L’Anima, in Broadgate, has shared his mouthwatering recipe for Parmigiano Reggiano & Carnaroli Risotto with white truffle. Visit www.homesandproperty.co.uk/recipes.
For more details on the London Restaurant Festival 2010, visit visitlondon.com/londonrestaurantfestival.