Summer is well and truly upon us with the seasonal sporting tournaments reaching their conclusions and the temperatures finally rising. This means that eateries are eagerly anticipating a rising number of visitors; and with competition fierce, new restaurant food trends are emerging to give restaurants the edge over their competitors.
As expected, due to the barbeque season, there have been price increases in home-produced lamb, beef and poultry. France has shown unexpected interest in UK lamb and imported beef is in shorter supply. As a result, suppliers are advising alternative cuts. These not only make use of the whole animal but are representing better value.
With crab prices high, due in part to a high demand from China, native lobsters are being perceived as at an interesting alternative. Native king scallops have taken over from queen scallops, which should be avoided due to sustainability issues.
The berry season in Britain has got off to a flying start with excellent growing conditions. With the tradition of Wimbledon, strawberries have come into their own followed by raspberries, blueberries and blackberries as crops ripen. Some restaurants are using fresh berries to flavour and garnish cocktails and other fancy drinks as well as incorporating them into desserts.
As far as vegetables are concerned, Jersey Royal potatoes are extremely good quality and value this year. This is a relief after the weather adversely affected last year’s overall potato crop.
Mushrooms have, well, mushroomed in popularity with a range of varieties available across the summer. Morels, St George’s and puffballs are joined by the Scottish-grown girolle mushrooms which are due in season in August, bringing a fresh and fruity tang to dishes.
Vegan Tops All
Millennials introduced us to the term influencers and as a genre, they are responsible for a change in tastes. Compared with a year ago, customers are looking for healthier options, driven by millennials.
One restaurant chain that has seen this change is Greene King, with boss Nick Mackenzie explaining that veganism is becoming increasingly popular in his pubs. He says: “it isn’t just millennials but on a wider basis consumer trends are shifting. Most of our menus have vegan options and healthy eating is a big part of it. The trend in veganism is one that will continue.”
On the theme of veganism, a few hitherto unknown items are hitting the headlines. Watch out for aquafaba, the liquid drained from a can of chickpeas that used to go down the drain and is now whipped into an egg replacer for baked goods and sauces. Or in the chocolate mousse pictured.
Meanwhile America is going nuts over the health benefits of tea made from avocado leaves. Whether or not this will take off over here remains to be seen; but the beauty spotting potential restaurant foods trends is some never get beyond a fad.