Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Top food trends

One of the things about the unforgiving London food industry is the trends, both in restaurants and in food that they serve. Uncool in the 1980s, but oh-so-cool now–think the food your mum used to cook you or something that ten years ago a hip restaurateur wouldn’t even consider putting on his menu. I guess it’s kind of ironic, yeah? New York diner-style food is very fashionable at the moment.

There’s also a lot of talk of ‘deconstructing’ dishes these days: Taking the base ingredients and/or flavours of something and putting a different ‘take’ on a classic dish, something Heston Blumenthal is very fond of – that and copious amounts of liquid nitrogen. Another variation on this is calling normal stuff different names and giving them elaborate descriptions. However you dress them up, they’re still CHIPS. Yes, I am looking at YOU, American–style diners.

I've been following all of the food trends and from seeing all of the chat on Twitter, it’s amazing how quickly the ‘foodies’ are alerted to them and smugly reference it as quickly as possible (oh, and bonus points for posting on foursquare first that you’re AT said restaurant trying their latest dish). And in turn, how quickly the surrounding restaurants are alerted to it when somewhere cool does it. These are the top food trends of the moment:

Pork Belly
Smoked Eel – the star sandwich at most recently, Quo Vadis, which recently gained a new chef, apparantly, that EVERYONE’S raving about. If you’re not talking about smoked eel, you’re shunned from the virtual playground. I mean, what kind of person hasn’t tried smoked eel!?*
*Not me.

Salt Beef, corned beef, meatloaf, ox cheek, brisket – yeh, we get it, basic meat preservation techniques are now cool. They are cheap so your gran would have bought them at the butchers but suddenly they're all over the place. So hip and ironic, not to mention exclusive.

Burgers – everyone likes burgers. Byron is great, MEATLiquor is seemingly the best thing that’s ever happened to London but it’s still JUST A BURGER and the queues are massive. Still, they’ve done a great job with all the buzz.

'Eggplant' (or aubergine) Tempura 
Sliders – just call them a mini burger. We’re in London, not inner-city New York. I get the NY thing but it just looks a bit well, stupid.

Lobster – there’s a place where you can get only burgers and lobster. Everyone MUST go there. Let's play along with the joke that what was once the exclusive top of the menu treat is now offered as the alternative to the popular choice for mid-football match snack.

Pork belly – pretty much every menu I look at has bloody pork belly on it. I’m so bored of it. Similarly, pork scratchings, whilst once being the fodder of middle-aged men drinking pints in pubs, seem to be getting cooler.

French dip – Sliced steak sandwich with dipping sauce. And you have to put the sauce in yourself. I’d not actually heard about this ‘til today but apparently it’s very fashionable at the moment and well, it’s basically a steak sandwich. Amazing (ahem).

Tempura batter – It’s great. But people seem to be frying EVERYTHING in it – aubergine, courgette, cardboard (it’s only a matter of time. Probably).

Macaroni & cheese – I was at a pub in Chelsea at the weekend and there was mac’n’cheese on the menu. So old fashioned, it’s now cool again. In America they have fried mac’n’cheese for school dinner. I like this one – it’s comfort food but it’s pretty good.


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