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Food trends: they don’t really exist

There are many out there trying to predict the great new food trends for 2017: virtual-reality dining, a (new) vegetable revolution, the counter-revolution of meat. Trying to wade through the various claims to this year’s trends is as hard as the dough on Pasteis de nata (Portuguese custard tarts).

Let’s keep it clean

Food trends are everywhere. Kale, avocado and anything else green (appealing or otherwise) swept all before them. This was pushed along by the clean-eating movement, with its focus on unprocessed, natural ingredients and new, tasty twists on staple recipe; although the recriminations started soon after, with claims against its apparently miracle-offering capacity. (A sense of calm has, thankfully, been called for.) Indeed, the Avo-Brunch pop-up opened in London over the summer.

The tendency to make predictions as to the year’s hottest food trends has become a fad in itself. 2017 has invariably been predicted to see the year the vegetable takes centre-stage (ignoring clean-eating, apparently); yet there is also an emerging ‘counter-trend‘ of a renewed focus on meat, specifically of the quality, hand-crafted kind. Tacos, Thai restaurants and even Italian food have variously been dubbed the great trends of today, as if London has been sitting in some hygge-induced bubble in recent years.

It’s not all fad

This is not to say that, as in the rest of the cultural industries, trends are a feature of everyday life. Avocado sales grew by 39% in the year to March 2016 to reach their record in the UK, while vegetarian recipes and restaurants have been doing quite well recently (check out our guide to London’s best vegetarian restaurants). An excellent choice is The Gate, which offers a scrumptious vegan brunch and has outposts in Hammersmith, Marylebone and Islington. So what else should we look out for?

More women

Similar to a variety of other industries and activities, particularly in more creative industries, restaurants are seeing a greater number of women take control. An alumnus of the Gordon Ramsey school, Clare Smyth is to open her first restaurant in Notting Hill in the early summer of this year. Almost as high-end is Oklava, a Turkish-Cypriot venue in Shoreditch run by Selin Kiazim while Erchen Chang is head chef at the sizzlingly trendy Bao in Soho.

Virtual Reality

We weren’t joking about the virtual reality. It might not quite hit this year, but soon you will be able to enjoy the rolling vineyards of France or the Italian riviera when dining. At least, if last year’s experiments by Condé Nast and Carluccio’s are anything to go by. For more on VR, and other events happening this year in London, you can have a read of our blog article.