A Taste of Things to Come

This year's defin­ing restau­rant trends, no­table des­ti­na­tions and culi­nary move­ments

Philippine Tatler Traveller - - Contents - Words: Ch­eryl Tiu IMAGES: MATILDA AU

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.”

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