It’s become tradition that at this time of year we try and predict what will be big in food and drink across town the following year. Take a look at our attempt to guess 2014’s big-hitters and see how we did. We certainly got a few right — including smoked food and cocktails on tap.
Here are our predictions for 2015...
Late night eating and drinking
Unlike New York across the pond, London can’t claim to be a 24-hour city. But that could be about to change. In recent years we’ve gained a stand-out 24-hour restaurant in Duck & Waffle in the Heron Tower, and late night eating is being embraced at The Palomar and Bob Bob Ricard in Soho, Forza Win’s Dispensa in Peckham and Dishoom in Covent Garden, Shoreditch and King’s Cross. Now The Dairy in Clapham has announced a series of late night supperclubs starting at 1am, aimed primarily at service industry staff, and new Islington bar Pisco Embassy has launched with opening hours of midnight-5am. As London’s dining scene continues to grow, an increase in late-night options is the next natural step — if anything’s going to accelerate that, it will be the launch of London’s 24-hour tube in September.
Time for tech
Bar a few snazzy restaurant apps, the odd iPad wine list and some novelty features, we haven’t really seen technology affect the way we eat, drink and order yet. In the US, an app is in development which will allow bar-goers to avoid big queues by ordering rounds on their phones, from the comfort of their table. Most impressively, these same apps will employ either super-accurate location-based technology or face-recognition software to help waiters know who to deliver the drinks to. You never know, it could take off.
Expensive foreign beef
This is one trend we can’t really get behind, but it’s already on its way. In late 2014, both M Grill and Sushisamba in the City started selling pricey cuts of Japanese Kobe beef — at the latter, a menu of it costs £1,000. Other restaurants such as Beast, Goodman and Mash are also selling foreign cuts — often from America, Australia and Japan — at premium rates. With a longstanding ban on imports from Japan only lifted last summer, we’re expecting more restaurants to get in on the act in 2015; this is a shame given the excellent British beef we produce right here.
The cocktail age
Aged cocktails are set to go mainstream in 2015 — from Negronis that have been rested in leather, to drinks made with rum that have matured in oak. The spirits or mixes can be laid down for anything from a few hours to several months, picking up characteristics from the materials they’re kept in along the way — just like wines and whiskies do. When Silk & Grain opened in the City earlier this year, it took things a step further, with a cocktail list dedicated entirely to drinks that are either aged or made with ingredients that are. Expect to see them at a bar near you soon.
There’s no shortage of très magnifique French restaurants in London and brasseries have had a bit of a boost, but the cuisine hasn’t seen the boom that Spanish, Italian or many Asian ones have in recent times. We reckon 2015 could be its year. Le Chateaubriand — one of the best-known restaurants in Paris, currently ranked at 27 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list — will kick things off when it opens a London outpost in spring. It will be called Le Chabanais (named after a market town in south west France) and will open on Mount Street in Mayfair. Also due to open is a branch of much-loved Paris brasserie and wine bar Les 110 de Taillevent, itself a spin-off from the city’s two-Michelin starred Taillevent that opened back in 1946. The restaurant is so-called as it offers a whopping 110 wines by the glass, as it’s expected to in London. Where these guys go, others are likely to follow.
Pay before you dine
Dining could be set to get even more difficult in 2015. No longer will getting a reservation at hotspots like Chiltern Firehouse be the only hurdle, but you might even be asked to pay in advance to secure your reservation. If you have to cancel at the last minute, you’re unlikely to get a full refund — if any. We can’t say we’re keen on the idea, but it would put an end to large numbers of restaurant no-shows, which are an issue for the industry. It's also worth bearing in mind the supperclubs, pop-up events, tasting dinners and the like that we regularly book and pay for in advance on sites such as Grub Club. Does dinner in a restaurant have to be any different?
Still big in 2015
Three of 2014’s trends which are set to keep growing in 2015 are Peruvian cuisine, noodles and sky-high dining. Peruvian will be bolstered by the opening of a second Ceviche restaurant near Old Street in spring, the onslaught of ramen joints will be joined by other noodle dishes — such as udon at brand new Den in King’s Cross, and a trio of restaurants in the soon-to-open Walkie Talkie tower will keep high-up dining top of the agenda.
What else do you think will be big in 2015? Let us know in the comments below.