Last time we made our predictions for the new trends in food for 2011. This time, we’re gazing into our crystal soup bowl to see if we can spy what’s going to be hot hot hot in Restaurant Land this year. It’s no good for those whose partying days are far behind them, but if you’re still in the flush of youth – or can just stay up past 10.30pm – then this new trend is all yours. All-night dining is set to take the country by storm: whether you’re clubbing in The Blue Bar in Liverpool, fine dining at The Brompton Club or looking for a post-theatre pick-me-up at Fergus Henderson’s new joint, The St John Hotel, there’s something more on offer than a dirty burger past lights out. And we say, thank God, quite frankly – it’s been a long time coming. . .
Talking of burgers – and especially incredibly nice gourmet ones – look out for food on the move coming to a neighbourhood near you. Mobile food wagons such as The Meat Wagon, Chocstar and the Byron Shack are all taking up more permanent residences. Not content to leave the high street to the larger fast food chains, some of the top food-to-go businesses are branching out from festivals and putting down roots wherever they can. Pop-ups become pop-ins.
Conversely, coming over from America is the new food truck craze. Restaurants are going on the road (perhaps inspired by the Taste festivals) and making their food fast. TV favourite Jun Tanaka is first off the grid with Pearl and Canteen are looking to take their all-day dining concept nationwide and on the hoof. Keep up with them on a social network near you.
You may not be that enthused about the next one, but it was always inevitable. Don’t be afraid, but healthy-look menus are not far away, with calories counted next to each and every dish. We’re not sure we want to dwell too long on this one – it might put you off your sweetbread-stuffed pig trotters.
Finally, it might well be time to wave a cheery ‘au revoir’ to the surly waiters of ye olden days. Service is becoming more futuristic and it surely won’t be long before we’re ordering via an electronic menu at the table or even before we get there via the restaurant’s own app. You won’t even have to ask for the bill; just pay tableside on the automated machine.
And if you hear of anything on the grapevine, let us know. We’ve already been alerted to the rising trend in casual Indian lunchtime dining and watch out for another Viking invasion from Scandinavia. What else is out there?