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Mr Porter Eats

10 Food And Drink Trends To Know Now

Why your next dining experience might include black ice cream, recycled food and carbs galore. Bon appétit

  • Black Coconut Ice Cream Burger. Photograph courtesy of Pear Tree Cafe

Food and fashion are, in one sense at least, similar. Both are subject to a never-ending swirl of trends and counter-trends. And how could it be any other way? The most adventurous chef’s relentless search for the new and curious acts like R&D for the places most of us eat; the journey of the bao bun from Bone Daddies to the supermarket all happened in the blink of an eye. But it wouldn’t be so without some chef somewhere looking into his crystal stockpot and distilling the culinary futures. To help you keep ahead of the game, MR PORTER brings you the 10 biggest food trends across the globe.

01. Planet plant

  • Avocado Toast at Essence Cuisine, London. Photograph courtesy of Essence Cuisine

The torturous pun Veganuary may have put us off, but by next year, plant-based dining will be firmly in the mainstream. American cult joint By Chloe will open its eighth plant-led restaurant (its first outside the US) in London’s Covent Garden by the end of 2017. Meanwhile, west London’s Farmacy restaurant has syringe-style shots of plant goodness and a punchy vegan menu that’s got Ms Liv Tyler, Ms Lily Allen and Madonna, through the door.

But the next big news is LA health-food celebrity chef Mr Matthew Kenney bringing his Essence Cuisine to the capital. His whole-other-level meat/sugar/gluten/dairy-free food takes a little getting used to – but selling wine and cocktails softens the blow, and it sounds more appealing than the “bleeding” lab-grown burger that Impossible Food has been selling in the US. How British Labour Party leader Mr Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement that he is “in the process of becoming a vegan” will affect the trend is, as yet, unclear.

On our dish list

  • Gucci Camp-Collar Printed Silk-Twill Shirt

  • Bottega Veneta Slim-Fit Checked Woven Trousers


 

02. Eat to the beat

  • Interior of MTN, LA. Photographs by Ms Ashley Randall, courtesy of MTN

  • Chashu Pork Ramen at MTN, LA. Photographs by Ms Ashley Randall, courtesy of MTN

Loud music in restaurants might really grind your gears, but get used to it. Rod’s boogie-woogie piano at The Groucho Club and a live orchestra in Brasserie Zédel don’t count; this stuff puts the club in club sandwich. In London, Spiritland has a state-of-the-art sound system to better showcase everything from nightly DJ sets to slightly nerdy music-tech talks (in fact, acts are more curated than the menu, which is all bread-based business). And where Ducksoup in Soho has allowed diners to bring their own albums for years, in LA, the new Japanese-ish hotspot MTN (that’s mountain in English) from Venice’s Gjelina team has a reverentially attended vintage collection of old-school hip-hop vinyls, from Run DMC to the Beastie Boys.

On our dish list

  • Acne Studios Mylon Nylon Bomber Jacket

  • Sandro Camouflage-Print Cotton-Blend Jersey T-Shirt


 

03. Waste not

  • Pasta at Scratch at Spring. Photograph courtesy of Spring

Food waste is the anti-trend. It’s safer to say you endorse topknots and kipper ties than admit to chucking out the contents of your fridge at the end of the week. Last spring, London got a taste of creative waste when US super-chef Mr Dan Barber (of Blue Hill at Stone Barns) presented his WastED pop-up in Selfridges and served cod heads, kale stalks and broken rice to fascinated punters and professionals alike – dinners with guest UK chefs sold out in seconds. Now enlightened restaurateurs like Messrs Jason Atherton and Ross Shonhan are banning food-waste bins from their kitchens to encourage chefs to use every bit of produce, while Silo in Brighton tosses out nothing, and Ms Skye Gyngell has a major hit with her new Scratch menu at Spring in London (do book, it’s a steal and a schooling for £20). Stay tuned for the US documentary movie Wasted, with Mr Anthony Bourdain (see point seven, below, for more) and you’ll never look at your groceries the same way again.

On our dish list

  • Folk Signal Ribbed Wool Sweater

  • Acne Studios Land Denim Jeans


 

04. Doughnut dining

  • Begging Bowl interior. Photograph by Ms Lol Johnson, courtesy of Begging Bowl

We’re not talking about eating the fried sugary things, but eating around where you live. As rents in city centres become prohibitively expensive, restaurateurs are looking to open in the more suburban districts that form a doughnut shape around the middle of town. In London, the latest neighbourhood restaurants are some of the most exciting, too – think Six Portland Road in Holland Park, the Begging Bowl in Peckham, Perilla in Newington Green and, well, just about anywhere east. It’s giving start-ups the chance to get going and all of us the chance to eat well within walking distance of home. Win win. Of course, New York had the jump on London with Brooklyn’s restaurant explosion years back, but LA’s sprawl means Brentwood, Encino and Los Feliz are the hot areas for doughnut dining (although they’d call it donut). Good luck getting a table at Pizzana, The Woodley Proper or Kismet.

On our dish list

  • rag & bone Heath Slub Cotton Shirt Jacket

  • Joseph Ettrick Cotton and Linen-Blend Twill Drawstring Trousers


 

05. Goth gourmet

  • Raw milk and black coconut ash cone at Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream, New York. Photograph by Mr Alan Gastelum, courtesy of Morgenstern’s Finest Ice Cream

Just as the mainstream catches on to unicorn food (those terrible pastel swirly bagels and birthday cakes filled with sweeties – yuck!), the influencers move on. At the tipping point right now is goth gourmet, a trend for food in its most unappealing carapace – black. Waiters no longer need to explain, “It’s not burnt, it supposed to look like that,” when they bring a black burger bun (as served with crispy squid in London’s Pear Tree Café); at brand-new London opening Magpie, lobster cannoli (featuring black pasta and ash topping) is an early hit. Activated charcoal juices are practically like Coca-Cola in LA (#19 at Juice Served Here slays hangovers) and following the success of Morgenstern's Finest Ice Cream’s black coconut ash flavour in New York, the Jude’s ice cream brand in the UK has taken its own black coconut flavour from a one-month-only edition to selling in supermarkets. We await the other big food-colour no-no, blue.

On our dish list

  • Rick Owens Oversized Cotton-Jersey Hoodie

  • TAKAHIROMIYASHITA TheSoloist. Raw-Edged Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt


 

06. A new West Coast

  • Grilled Chicken Leg with Daikon & Carrot slaw at Smoke & Salt. Photographs by Mr Remi Williams, courtesy of Smoke & Salt

  • Smoke & Salt interior. Photographs by Mr Remi Williams, courtesy of Smoke & Salt

Is there any world cuisine which is yet to be borrowed from? Probably not, but as the tastemakers drift away from Korean, Mexican and Scandinavian, a new part of the world falls under their gaze. Arguably kickstarted by Ms Zoe Adjonyoh with her Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen street-food stand (now fixed at Pop Brixton container park in London) and cookbook, West African is the new food to know. In London, Smoke + Salt and Ikoyi are hot tickets, and in Washington DC, Kith and Kin will blend African flavours with Caribbean spice. If you’re not eating jollof rice by December, you’re missing out.

On our dish list

  • A.P.C. Milan Checked Cotton and Linen-Blend Shirt

  • Nudie Jeans Ove Striped Slub Organic Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt


 

07. Mr Bourdain strikes 

  • Mr Anthony Bourdain in Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Oman. Photograph by Mr David S Holloway/CNN

No one could call Mr Anthony Bourdain a trend, or even necessarily trendy, but what he talks about sets trends. The chef who arguably first lifted the lid on restaurant life with his 2000 memoir Kitchen Confidential has matured into an éminence grise and a fascinating commentator on the current food world. He fronts the hard-hitting Wasted documentary (see above), and food lovers will want to catch the next Mr Bourdain doc-series Parts Unknown. After all, he was eating the dodgy bits of creatures long before I’m A Celebrity… But if you can’t wait, catch old episodes of The Mind Of A Chef, which Mr Bourdain created, online while waiting for the next incarnation of the show to stream. It unravelled the thinking of people like Faviken’s Mr Magnus Nilsson and Momofuku’s Mr David Chang – but it’s Mr Bourdain’s narration that makes it great, a brilliantly gonzo riposte to the Chef’s Table.

On our dish list

  • Camoshita Slim-Fit Camp-Collar Checked Cotton-Blend Shirt

  • Bottega Veneta Oxidised Silver Tiger's Eye Bracelet


 

08. Fantastic carbtastic

  • Uovo’s kitchen in Bologna, Italy. Photograph courtesy of Uovo

A renaissance for proper pasta is gathering heat in London and the West Coast of the US. Call it a clean-eating backlash, call it the desire for a carb-coma to avoid current affairs, we don’t care. In London, powerhouse chef Mr Stevie Parle (who learnt his rolling nous at the legendary River Café) is poised to bring Pastaio to the Soho masses in late October, while menswear brand-cum-café Chucs will bring linguine to shoppers in the rarified environs of the new luxury timepiece department at Harrods department store when it reopens. Meanwhile in LA, it’s all about Mr Lele Massimini’s Uovo (Italian for egg), where the dough is made in Bologna with local intensely coloured yolks. (Mr Massimini, by the way, recently struck gold with simple, affordable sushi at Sugarfish in LA and NYC.) What these pasta bars have in common is an ultra-authentic simplicity. Don’t: ask for extra sauce. Do: take a spin class the next morning.

On our dish list

  • The Elder Statesman Dip-Dyed Cotton-Flannel Shirt

  • Saint Laurent Skinny-Fit 15cm Hem Distressed Stretch-Denim Jeans


 

09. Organic goes online

  • A Whole Foods Market delivery van, Chelsea, New York, June 2017. Photograph by Mr Richard B Levine/SIPA USA/PA Images

During the summer, the sudden news that Amazon had bought Whole Foods raised a few eyebrows. What would this mean for quality at the famously high-end grocer – which embittered addicts call Whole Paycheck? Amazon, after all, is the apogee of pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap mentality. Visitors to branches of Whole Foods across the US and UK may already have noticed a few changes – under a “farm fresh” banner is a display of Amazon’s Echo hardware – but the much-heralded price-drop, which would enable more people to experience the ritzy artisanal produce, is a little slower to roll out beyond a headline-grabbing 50p off an avocado. But get ready: this winter, Whole Foods branded goods will be available on Amazon Prime.

On our dish list

  • Gucci Jacquard-Knit Wool Sweater

  • adidas Originals Stan Smith Primeknit Sneakers


 

10. Name games

  • Flavour Bastard Exterior at Flavour Bastard. Photograph courtesy of Flavour Bastard

  • Chickpea Salad. Photograph courtesy of Flavour Bastard

Perhaps it’s provocative, perhaps it’s because we book everything online and need not say the name aloud, but stupid restaurant names is a trend gathering pace. How we, er, chuckled at the announcement of Sexy Fish in London’s Mayfair; after all, that’s neither an accurate or appetising image to conjure up. But what’s this? Flavour Bastard, that’s what. Early reports on the Soho opening are that beyond the name it’s a rather pedestrian restaurant – the culinary equivalent of wearing blingy earrings to distract from a bad haircut. See also the forthcoming Giggling Squid. More interesting is the challenging “how do you say that?” naming trend: Serge et Le Phoque from Hong Kong is coming to London’s Mandrake Hotel this month, and Ichibuns runs the risk of, well, you know. In the US, there’s a “proud” heritage of such horrors as San Francisco’s Tacorgasmico and Portland’s Karmasouptra…

On our dish list

  • Our Legacy Cotton-Blend Satin Coach Jacket

  • OAMC Printed Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt