A Taste of Things to Come
This year's defining restaurant trends, notable destinations and culinary movements
Natural cooking methods, fermentation and preservation will dominate.
“Few chefs know about fermentation, so it will continue to grow and evolve, and slowly become more mainstream,” predicts André Chiang of Restaurant André, an award-winning restaurant in Singapore. “Most people want to have and use natural ingredients and techniques, making preservation very important,” adds Virgilio Martinez of the acclaimed restaurant Central in Peru. Both agree that sourness and acidity will be predominant flavours. “Preservation gives a sense of sourness. Acidity will be higher; [flavours] will be less savoury, less salty, less sweet,” continues Martinez, while Chiang adds, “Natural acidity from vegetables and fruits will become more common in seasoning.”
GREAT SERVICE, back-to-basics cooking AND accessible menus WIL DEFINE SUCES.
“With globalisation, we are starting to see more crosspollination of cultures and cuisines, and a proliferation of good food in every shape and form,” says Wee Teng Wen of Singapore’s The Lo & Behold Group. “It will be increasingly difficult for restaurateurs to find their niche by food offerings alone. People will continue to dine at restaurants, but their experiences and the hospitality of the staff will become increasingly critical as to whether or not they will return.” Hong Kong-based Yenn Wong of JIA Group thinks a return to simplicity is another key element. “While fine dining will still occupy a revered space in the gastronomic scene, I think chefs will look at scaled-down simplicity and dining experiences to create more accessible menus. Restaurants offering the comfort of simple food—such as burgers or a bowl of comforting noodles—that evoke memories will become more popular with urban diners.”
It’s the year of apple AND agave-based spirits, Irish whiskey and Japanese sake.
“Irish whiskey, especially single-pot-still variants, are definitely on the rise,” says bartender Jillian Vose of New York City’s The Dead Rabbit, currently ranked No. 1 on The World’s 50 Best Bars list. “People are realising that Irish whiskey is not just for St Patrick’s Day, but also for making interesting cocktails with depth.” She also adds that apple-based spirits and liqueurs (aged apple liqueurs and unaged apple eaux-de-vie) are gaining traction. Bartender Philip Bischoff of the Manhattan Bar in Singapore says, “A category that grows every year is agave-based drinks, specifically tequila and mezcal. There are so many smaller distilleries in Mexico that help reform the ‘doubtful experience’ many of us have with the drink, usually using impure (not 100 per cent) agave distillate.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown, editor-in-chief and reviewer for Robert Parker Wine Advocate, says that sake continues to be dominant and consumption has become more sophisticated. “Sake is becoming very popular in New York, London and Hong Kong... So much so that we will increase our coverage of sake next year, expanding on the range of styles and adding to the educational element.”