A “less is more” approach is anticipated in dining in both recipes and presentation. We can expect to see a shift towards cooking where ingredients shine for what they are, rather than what they can be manipulated into. Presentation will be cleaner, sleeker and simpler. Say goodbye to the likes of caviar that looks like caviar but isn’t caviar and mushrooms that look like mushrooms but aren’t mushrooms. With South Africa hitting its culinary stride, it’s a refreshing antidote to the often childlike approach to fine dining.
WINE BY THE GLASS AND CORAVIN SELECTIONS
Expect an increase in the number of wine options available by the glass.
Wine preservation systems such as those made by Coravin – nifty gadgets that pour wine through a medical-grade needle inserted through the cork while simultaneously filling the bottle with the neutral gas argon which prevents the wine from oxidizing – are becoming more prevalent, enabling restaurants to pour multiple premium offerings by the glass.
FERMENTATION AND NEW NORDIC CUISINE
Fermentation was the buzzword of the culinary world in 2019 and it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing down. Thanks in no small part to Rene Redzepi and his world-renowned Noma, many a young chef is looking towards Scandinavia for inspiration. In line with the new Nordic culinary philosophy, expect plenty of vegetables, fish and, of course, pickles and ferments.
After years of banting; low-carb, high-fat; keto diets and the rest, it’s a relief to finally have bread back on the table. This is perhaps a function of our primal need to seek comfort in trying times, for what is more comforting than freshly baked bread? Expect trays, trolleys and basketsful to arrive at the table. Fresh-out-the-oven sourdoughs, flat breads, farm loaves, all begging to be slathered with flavoured butters infused with everything from anchovy to bone marrow. I, for one, am delighted by the industry’s reignited obsession with gluten.
NOSE TO TAIL
In line with the ever-growing focus on sustainable eating, chefs are using more than just the primary cuts of meat. Expect to see more secondary cuts, such as brisket, cheek and flank, on the menu, in addition to offal – think brains, sweetbreads and livers. It’s a wonderful movement and a necessary one. When cooked correctly, these offerings are beautiful and packed with flavour.
THE MILK ALTERNATIVE
The dairy-free trend is here to stay – at least for now. First it was soya, then it was almond and now we’re onto oat.
This plant-based alternative is the latest to be embraced by those seeking a suitable substitute to cow’s milk. Vegan friendly, as well as being lactose, nut and soy free (certain brands are also certified gluten free), it is often fortified with additional vitamins, as many of those present in oats are lost during the straining process.
While food might be getting more serious, cocktails are becoming more playful. Look forward to interesting serves, nostalgic flavours and intriguing pairings. Cocktail pairings are on the rise and I expect to see them accompanied by small plates and snacks, serving as an alternative to wine pairings.
PLANT-BASED EATING AND PROTEINS
The plant-based movement is growing at a rapid rate – and restaurants are taking note. Menus have already taken up this trend, and will continue to cater for those seeking plant-based alternatives to meat and dairy. Looking to the home – burgers and beyond – many of our favourite meat delights have been given a plant-based makeover. Everything from sausages to schnitzel are being recreated using plant-based proteins that claim to cook, look and, most importantly, taste like the real thing. This is a trend I am yet to embrace.