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Part two of food, drinks and design writer, Douglas Blyde’s report for 2014, revealing predictions of trends and themes from a veritable, all you can eat salad bar of prominent palates…

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‘This year’s rash of pop-ups will become an epidemic as nooks and crannies soak up the glut of wannabes trying something new. Expect a few more celebrity chimeras such as Cafe Football too. Unfortunately, 2014 will also be the year of the iPad menu. Abandon all hope.’

Jon Massey, Deputy Editor, The Wharf (www.wharf.co.uk)

‘Less one trick ponies and more choice on the menu. It’s been great having artisans honing their craft but blossoming burger empires and endless regurgitations around a subject has been mind-numbing. “Croduffin” anyone?’

Qin Xie, Journalist and ‘kitchen infiltrator’ (http://qinxie.co.uk)

‘Service will make or break businesses (not only restaurants) in 2014. I see two distinctive kinds of service: one done with fewer staff- fast, simple, basic but right on the money (like el Pirata Mayfair or Ape & Bird) and another I describe as First Class service. Both need well-trained, knowledgeable, smart and nice people. The businesses that believe and invest in staff development will be rewarded with guest loyalty…’

Fred Sirieix, The Art of Service (www.theartofservice.co.uk)

‘Street food moves outside London. At the British Street Food Awards 2013 the winner of Best Street Food Collective was from Bristol, and Best Street Food Event from Birmingham. Next year, the street food movement really picks up in Europe, and Britain is at the centre of it all, with the best coming to flex their muscles at the BSFAs 2014…’

Richard Johnson, British Street Food Awards (http://flavors.me/richardjohnson)

‘Independent operators will be effectively priced out of central London, this will see a shift to cheaper but still vibrant parts of town, and release Soho’s strangle hold on fun, casual dining.’

Stevie Parle, Restaurateur, Dock Kitchen, writer and TV presenter (www.dockkitchen.co.uk)

‘Development regionalising. Bristol is moving ahead in an amazing surge. Nobody there gives a fuck about Michelin but restaurants are opening daily and it’s only a little behind London. Bigger cities in the north are still obsessing about getting slebs and Michelin happening on their patch and it’s going nowhere. Catalysts can be locations (see Borough), people (see Rick Stein, HFW), community (see Bristol), changing demographic (see Cambridge) and sometimes nothing seems to work (see Manchester). If you’re not in London, the question will be, how is my town doing?’

Tim Hayward, Food writer/broadcaster, restaurateur (http://timhayward.com)

‘A ground-shift in restaurant design. As last year progressed, design became more about the raw and the visceral. The natural progression will be restaurants that look war-torn, brutal, decayed and derelict. I think we will see, before the year is out, a restaurant that looks like a construction site, but with smart antique tables, stylish old chairs, and beautiful lighting.’

Russell Norman, Writer and Restaurateur, Polpo (www.polpo.co.uk)

‘A greater proliferation of the Chef’s Table – not the kind of back-room pilgrimage as witnessed at Bubbledogs, but more like San Francisco’s E&O, where away from the formal dining experience, more relaxed bar seating is provided along the kitchen where you can chat with chefs about unusual processes/ingredients, and where the odd tasty morsel is passed on to further tempt you. It’s as much about the staffing as it is the design.

‘Hopefully too the death of the pressed copper ceiling, so endearing when first used by the likes of Polpo, but oh so very, very tired now. See also: squirrel cage light bulbs, white glazed bevelled brick tiling. If it’s being used on a strip club I’m Shoreditch, it’s time to step away.
And for those who are thinking of designing their own restaurants, checking compatibility between crockery and table size would be much appreciated. If I wanted to eat off my own lap I’d have stayed at home (Wishbone Chicken, Comptoir Libonais…)’

Ruth Lang, Architect

‘With the surge of interest in provenance of ingredients, fresh, seasonal food sourced locally and purchased in smaller High Street shops, farms and markets, enthusiasm will spread further and wider, slowly, but positively. Cooking at home for the family, encouraging younger members to engage with choosing and preparing meals to eat together, is something we should be supporting at every level possible, from as an early an age as we can.’

Shirley Spear, Three Chimneys, Skye (www.threechimneys.co.uk)

 

 

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