Three New Food And Drink Trends For Summer
A salad plate at Tibits. Photograph courtesy of Tibits Bankside
The freshest dishes to try this summer, and where to find them.
London’s fast-paced food scene makes tracking trends a full-time – and highly calorific – occupation. The introduction of hyped new products, processes or entire cuisines keep kitchens busy and curious palates guessing. And while the lifecycle of many may be short but rainbow-doughnut sweet, others swiftly hit the mainstream as proof of a vibrant industry pushing things forward. Separating the Instagram-fuelled fads from fresh ideas, we’ve picked out three restaurant trends we’re embracing this summer.
Cauliflower Shawarma at Berber & Q. Photograph by Mr Tom Bowles, courtesy of Berber & Q
Surfing the wave of the clean-living movement, salads are stealing the limelight this summer with more chefs putting them front and centre on their menus. Berber & Q’s life-affirming cauliflower shawarma sees the humble brassica grilled whole and topped with tahini and pomegranate, while the just-opened Bankside branch of Tibits champions a range of statement salads. Its “food boat” buffet concept allows customers to match multiple dishes, including tangy cauliflower with black sesame and founder Mr Reto Frei’s personal favourite, the Asian-inspired samphire salad, which he says “has taste and texture but is also light, making it perfect for lunch or on hot summer evenings.”
Meanwhile, edible flowers have hit a high-water mark with Waitrose recently adding them to its shelves. Mount Street’s Indian restaurant Jamavar led the way with executive head chef Mr Rohit Ghai putting together a vibrant floral-led menu at this summer’s Chelsea Flower Show, while Mr Stevie Parle adorns his dishes at Craft London with the likes of rose, camomile, nasturtium and primrose grown in his garden in Kent.
Egg hopper at Hoppers. Photograph courtesy of Hoppers
Small-plate dining be gone – this summer it’s all about big plates and bigger crowds with a renewed appetite for communal feasting menus. Fitzrovia’s newly opened Meraki – from the team behind Roka and Zuma – puts a contemporary Greek spin on the concept with large shoulders of lamb and market fresh fish prepared at the table, with head chef Mr Dimitrios Siamanis letting filoxenia – or Greek hospitality – shine through. “This is what the Greeks do best,” says founder Mr Peter Waney “The amazing produce the country has to offer can be presented round the table and shared among guests.”
Elsewhere, ultra-successful Sri-Lankan restaurant Hoppers is about to launch a second site in Marylebone, complete with a newly devised sharing menu that includes clay-pot baby chicken and pork ribs with fennel and turmeric sambol. Plus, in a novel twist, this outpost can be booked in advance. Here’s hoping that becomes a trend in itself.
Frozen margarita at Bad Egg. Photograph courtesy of Bad Egg
Perhaps the most welcome summer food and drink trend is the revival of alcoholic slushies. Outré Moorgate diner Bad Egg has introduced an iced take on the ubiquitous Aperol spritz alongside its renowned frozen margaritas, while the tequila negroni frozitas at the Curtain’s Tienda Roosteria are swiftly becoming a hot-weather favourite.
The team behind Clapham’s soon-to-launch neighbourhood restaurant Minnow snapped up a slushy machine to house the hard granitas on their menu. “The nostalgic excitement of a slushy shouldn’t be reserved for dodgy bowling alleys,” says co-founder Mr Chris Frichot, who recommends pairing them with spicier dishes. “The flavours are bold and their temperature makes them an assault on the senses but they are the perfect antidote to spice. A dish like our chargrilled octopus with sour green mango and curry paste would go well with a granita – rich umami flavours can be balanced really well with a super cold drink.”