In which we gaze into our crystal (meat) ball...
As we come to the end of 2016 it's time to look forward and consider what will be dominating restaurant menus in the year to follow. We asked experts in London's food and drink world what they think will be tasty in 2017. Here are their answers.
"I'm most excited about the rampaging return of pasta. The arrival of Luca at the end of 2016 sealed the deal. #cleaneating be gone, we're loving carbs again. Meanwhile, in the business of food, the rent hikes and too much competition in zone 1 mean we should see really exciting restaurants in the 'doughnut' — zones 2 and beyond. It's about time we had more exciting neighbourhood restaurants near where most of us actually live (shame Crossrail still won't be ready in 2017)."
Lisa Markwell, Sunday Times restaurant critic and trainee chef
"The LA-revamped trend of farm to fork. Seasonal vegetables are making a comeback but with a new lease of life. Think buffalo cauliflower, fresh corn polenta and lots of salads with brassicas — mostly shredded sprout salads."
Gizzi Erskine, chef, broadcaster and author
"Soup dumplings are going to be huge, I reckon. Especially with Din Tai Fung coming over, there are bound to be spin-offs. More and more people are discovering the joys of dumplings, customising them to make them their own."
Lizzie Mabbott, food writer and author of Chinatown Kitchen
"I'd say we'll be seeing more vegetables and pulses on menus, as the cost of seafood and meat continue to increase. I guess there will be something connected to Brexit (importing etc) that someone smarter than me will know more about! Finally, as rents keep going through the roof, we'll unfortunately see more places close in central and hopefully reopen in new spaces outside of zone 1."
Dan Doherty, chef director, Duck and Waffle
"Negative: I predict and despair that "concept" chains like Ivy, Itsu, Byron, Patty & Bun and the rest will overtake and crowd out small family owned restaurants with more personality.
"Positive: I predict and celebrate the rise of restaurants (Anglo, Oldroyd etc...) serving named, locally sourced ingredients featured on tight menus with four appetisers, four mains and four desserts well prepared."
Jeffrey Merrihue, founder of Foodiehub
"With Claude Bosi taking over the kitchens at Bibendum, and after a particularly enjoyable meal by ex-Racine chef Henry Harris recently, I think traditional French bistro food will make a comeback. French onion soup, confit duck leg and prune and Armagnac tarts. All for around £30 a head."
Chris Pople, food writer
"I think vegetables are set to take over the world in 2017. We've already seen kale and cauliflower become unlikely stars in the past few years, but in 2017, I reckon there's going to be a lot more in the way of "plant-focussed" cooking, not necessarily vegetarian, but allowing the veg to take centre stage, especially prepared with methods traditionally reserved for meat, like chargrilling and braising. We're also going to see food prices rise sharply I'm afraid, as Brexit moves nearer, which is likely to only encourage this further."
Felicity Cloake, The Guardian's How to Make the Perfect columnist and author of The A-Z of Eating: A Flavour Map for Adventurous Cooks, out now (Fig Tree, £25)
"Laksa is poised to become the next noodle based soup to make a splash in London. Both Sambal Shiok's residency at Blend Cafe in Green Lanes, Harringay, and The Laksa Kitchen's stint at Tolli Cafe in Kentish Town, are trial runs for permanent sites. More will follow, and don't be surprised to see larger restaurant groups (and after, supermarkets) to spot, and exploit the momentum.
"We will see more concepts based around Turkish mangal grills: modern mangals, given a flourish of considered restaurant design, and an increased emphasis on quality of service (as a half-Turk, I'm allowed to say both of these elements have been sorely lacking in many 'old school' Turkish restaurants), and this will benefit all Turkish concepts by association. Turkish cuisine is flying like never before with operators like Yosma and Oklava offering a modern interpretation of Turkish food, styled in a more contemporary fashion, as well as the increasing Turkish influences and inspiration seen on the menus of restaurants like Arabica Bar and Kitchen and Berber & Q."
Zeren Wilson, food and wine writer, and restaurant wine consultant
"Dining (in or out) for a good cause! #CookForSyria is a perfect example of people coming together to raise awareness about social causes through food, cooking, DIY supper clubs, and sharing recipes across social media — whilst generating valuable funds for charity and people in need.
"There's also going to be a lot more focus on #ZeroWaste and sustainability in the coming year."
Clerkenwell Boy, Instagram: @ClerkenwellBoyEC1
"Well, I'm definitely gonna say duck! That’s really gonna happen. I'd also like to see hand pulled noodles, dumplings and wontons (in a Sichuan kinda style) spreading across the capital — but I also wanna get on that myself, after I've opened Bastien. So watch this space. I think more Mexican and south American cuisines will continue to grow as London sees a few keys taquerias opening towards the end of this year. I for one welcome that!
Andrew Clarke, chef director (Brunswick House and Bastien, coming soon)
"I think 2017 will be the year of Mexican food, and we'll start to see lots of great tacos and more regional stuff. I also think that it will be the year of the Super Garnish, so expect to see lots of sprinkles, sauces and salsas to be added by the customer at the table — think flavoured salts, experimental condiments and textural additions."
Helen Graves, Londonist's food and drink editor
"After years of gluten free gloom, 2016 seemed to turn its attention to pastry. Gorgeous pastry — pastry as art as well as flavour. From chef Calum of Holborn Dining Room, a self-confessed pastry deviant, to a whole tribe on Instagram. I can see this gathering pace next year. I, for one, plan to up my pastry game."
Niamh Shields, food and travel blogger at Eat Like A Girl and Snapchat cook @eatlikeagirl