Part one of food, drinks and design writer, Douglas Blyde’s report for 2014, revealing predictions of trends and themes from a gourmet hamper-load of England’s most prominent and attractive mobile stomachs…


‘Going out to dinner, no matter how much we seem to want to de-formalise and downgrade it, is still a special occasion for 99% of restaurant-goers, and the trick of waving a trendy stick at so-called stuffiness might be on borrowed time.

‘After shouting for the attention of a T-shirted dude to pay the same prices for their shared slates of deep-fried kale and Korean offal tapas as before the great tablecloth ‘n’ three-courses exodus a few times, diners will begin to feel short-changed. As they shuffle out unacknowledged, they’ll start craving the things they sought to throw out: thoughtful, refined and personal cooking served with order and boundaries, ambiance and decor not afraid of a few soft fabrics to soak up the din, and – maybe above all – professional and considered service that makes you feel special…’

Melissa Foodie (

‘Fine dining is going to be on the back burner for another year as restaurateurs focus on bistro and brasserie-style venues. (Even restaurants such as Chavot hide behind a brasserie identity). Russell Norman’s influence continues as Polpo generates more imitators, and this will be given a push by the new Polpetto. I think this may be the year in which arrivals from the U.S. accelerate. We’ve had Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud), Wolfgang Puck (CUT), Keith McNally (Balthazar) and – by stealth – the Altamarea group with Chop Shop. We are likely to get Fatty Crab and Smith & Wollensky. With Jason Atherton and others looking to New York, I expect the short-to-medium-term accent in London dining may become more American.’

Richard Vines, Bloomberg (

‘After six difficult years and the proliferation of pop-ups, burger joints and brasseries, who isn’t weary of austerity and would like the occasional bit of pampering? During that period, very little new capacity was created in the fine dining market while some fine dining restaurants deliberately sought to change down a gear and appeal to the more casual diner at a lower cost. An absence of new capacity therefore and growing demand will greatly benefit those who stayed the course. Arguably, it’s never quite been as bad for this niche sector as has been made out – try getting a table at Le Gavroche before April for example – but in 2014, don’t leave your fine dining reservation to the last minute, or you might just find that you’re hearing the same thing at every Mayfair restaurant you call: “sorry, we’re fully booked.”’

David Williams, Food Writer and Photographer (

More proper French Bistros with affordable three course meals in the evenings and set lunches that are a bargain.’

Nick Harman, Foodepedia (

‘The boozer is back. Following on from the proper pub feel of Ape and Bird and casual neighbourhood beery vibes of Foxlow and Blackfoot, we’ve all started remembering that food needs to be fun; that the best plates in the world can die if the atmosphere feels like a mausoleum…’

Pip McCormac, Lifestyle Director, Red Magazine ( )

‘Bakeries. The logical next step in the industry.’

Dan Doherty, Duck and Waffle (

‘Toasties, sprouts, bespoke cheese, Andre Balazs luxury Marylebone hotel, fin-to-tail eating, Red’s barbecue restaurants and Battersea.’

William Drew, Editor – Restaurant Magazine (

‘Octopus. Bar tenders in white jackets. Kimchi and gochujang. American-Italian. The next wave of modern British chefs. The Borough of Hackney. Fusion. Aged beers. Fast casual. Automated service. Texture. Japan. Charcuterie. Steaming. Family style. Brunch and egg dishes. Foie gras. Vegetables. Simon Rogan, Jason Atherton and Angela Hartnett. The provinces. Micro menus. Choice. Pure food/zero waste. Nigella.’

Andy Lynes, Metro (

‘Move over modern British. Ethnic food in a modern way. I love the Latin American invasion over the last year which will continue, as will a flood of new Vietnamese and Korean places. We don’t necessarily want traditional or old-fashioned but expect the keynote flavours and dishes of these regions. A bit of spice, a bit of exotic – and usually with a complementary cocktail list incorporating the key flavours.’

Maureen Mills, Network London PR

‘The demand in molecular cuisine declines further. People will be far more interested in the classic, wholesome style of cuisine.’

Francesco Mazzei, L’Anima (

‘Middle Eastern cuisines, especially Turkish and Persian, are going places. There will also be more Peruvian options than merely ceviche-driven dishes – I see Peru as the New Thai. Brazil has yet to really make an impact in London but perhaps this is the year for that what with all of the background chatter. The New Nordics still have shelf life, but hopefully with less crude aping of the Scandinavian masters.’

Bruce Palling, Head of Food and Wine, PCC and food commentator (

‘Syrian, Romanian and Bulgarian restaurants, adults-only eateries, petitions against airline food.’

Douglas Blyde (

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