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festival-logo-mainThe first ever London Restaurant Festival ran from 8 - 13 October 2009. Here's our retrospective of the main events:

The opening party
In five words or less
The Festival goes to Quaglino's
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To kick the whole event off, the London Restaurant Festival organisers joined up with Vanity Fair for a big opening gala...
How did it all go?

See our coverage here.

La Tante Claire
In five words or less

The return of Pierre Koffman.
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The legendary three Michelin-starred restaurant La Tante Claire made a triumphant return to London - on the roof of Selfridges, no less. For The month of October, head chef Pierre Koffman came out of retirement to put together the unmissable dining experience of the festival. Ably backed up by his former proteges, including Eric Chavot and Tom Kitchin, places at Koffman's stint was originally only for two weeks but was extended to 31st October.
How did it all go?
Hot Dinners managed to book a table for the opening Friday.  We were suitably impressed.  Find out what we ate here.

Starter for Ten
In five words or less
Foodie Quiz/Culinary challenge
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Bamber Gascoigne made a return to quizzes to host this one-off foodie face-off. Featuring Chefs vs Critics, with Thomasina Myers and Richard Corrigan among the former and Giles Coren and Toby Young the latter, the two teams battled it out at Vinopolis on a range of culinary questions.
How did it go?

Hot Dinners went along to the event and had a great night.  Find out more about the night here.

Dining in the London Eye
In five words or less
Top chefs cook in capsules.
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For the period of the festival, a number of chefs including Gordon Ramsay (whose capsule was auctioned for £23,000) and Richard Corrigan, served the meal of the year in one of the London Eye capsules. With each rotation of the capsule, a new course was served to a group of diners hopefully did not suffer from any sort of motion sickness. It's was a one-off experience with a price point to match.
How did it go?

Check out the London Restaurant Festival Blog for its report on the Ramsay event.

The Gourmet Odyssey
In five words or less
London restaurant crawl. By bus.
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Ever felt you'd like to make up your own dream menu, taking different courses from your favourite restaurants? Or fancy trying out a number of new restaurants but don't have the time or budget to stretch to more than one? Then the Gourmet Odyssey was the thing for you. if you booked one of the four tours on offer, after starting with a glass of Champagne at the Met Bar, you got ferried around three restaurants, sampling a course at each. With some of the Capital's very best restaurants on offer, this was the ideal way to sampling them.
How did it go?
Hot Dinners went on the Pall Mall Odyssey.  Find out how it went here.

The Big Roast
In five words or less
Top chefs cook Sunday lunch.
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Some of the city's top chefs took over Leadenhall market for Sunday Lunch, cooking for hundreds of people, who could bring their own wine.  With Corrigan, Hix, Leigh, Lee, Harris, Henderson, Berger and more on offer - this was an opportunity for the best Sunday lunch ever...
How did it go?
Hot Dinners went to interview the chefs.  Find out more here.

The Festival Awards
In five words or less
A pat on the back.
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As the Festival wrapped up, the organisers and chefs got together in the Tea Building (and at Nick Jones's new Pizza East afterwards) to dish out some awards.
How did it go?
Hot Dinners went along to the awards - see who won what here.


That was the cream of the crop, but there was loads more on offer, including:

  • Eat Film, where diners and film buffs watched a movie followed with a dinner based on the cinematic experience.
  • Festival menus, where hundreds of London restaurants put on special menus, which were designed to showcase just what it is that restaurant does best - and in some cases slightly more affordably than usual.
  • Adnaz Hotel's (normally closed to the public) Masonic temple had a pop-up restaurant by Bistrotheque - the Supersonic Masonique Supper Club.

Hot Dinners will be definitely be along next year, and in the meantime keep a look out for more on the Festival at the official website.

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