More variety on the platter...

From conscious eating to entertainment dining, trends are changing, and how, writes Vikram Singh
Last Updated 30 December 2019, 19:20 IST

With more and more people open to trying new food options in an attempt to live a happy, healthy and responsible life, there is more awareness about conscious eating.

This has catalysed the evolution of the restaurateurs in more than one way. Many global players made inroads into the Indian market and adapted the local palate whereas the indigenous ones tried their hands-on global dishes.

Entertainment dining is another major trend moving forward in 2020. A lot of young restaurants/gastro-pubs et al are working on their strategies to incorporate entertainment in their offers. So here’s a closer look at what’s going to be the top trends of 2020:

Grazing boards

It is a very new and fresh way of serving food which promotes social dining and encourages conversations around food. This made its way this year into the restaurant scene in India and we feel 2020 will see this trend being adapted by many food and beverage (F&B) outlets in a big way.

Street food for everyone

Street food has been at the forefront of culinary innovation in the last few years. The coming months and year will see a lot of F&B outlets include popular regional street food in their menu. This has an amazing nostalgic value which is incomparable. The focus will be on not just looking at bringing street food from other countries but also presenting our own on the table and giving various twists to it. For example, there exist dishes such as anda dhokla, dabeli pizza and so on.
Salad as an entrée

At which point during a meal is the entrée introduced has changed over the years. From being served at the beginning of the meal, salads (which is what entrée mostly used to be) are now the preferred main course option for a smart lunch or week-night dinner.

Nowadays, eating a big healthy salad is also a great way to get more fruits/ vegetables/meats that are high in vitamins, minerals, proteins, fibre and less in calories. And best of all, it’s always something fresh and seasonal.

Ferments to stay

There has been a mega-trend around fermented food among consumers, all because of the health benefits associated with it. Chefs experimented with exotic flavours found in kimchi or cultured drinks like kombucha to create their menu. The coming months will see an increasing interest around using lacto-

fermented sauces and miso as the base.

Off the chart grains & flours

Ingredients such as teff, freekeh will be used as replacements for grains such as the ubiquitous quinoa. And as for the flours, Indians are moving away from the refined, unhealthy maida to alternatives such as green banana flour, almond flour and sorghum.

Instagrammable & theatrics

Food and alcohol influencers who are determined to take the perfect shot to showcase what’s on their table to their followers before downing them are perhaps becoming quite powerful as a community. Simple, clean and time-friendly presentations will become popular.

The F&B industry invests heavily in styling food and cocktails and training bar staff to use the right cutlery and garnishing because the presentation is important. Food is now a multisensorial item.

Pro-earth and pro-community

Some of the most hyped restaurants and bars are switching to zero-waste policy and ensuring eco-conscious packaging which is compostable, reusable or recyclable. From using paper and steel straws to transforming scraps into delightful dishes, restaurateurs are willing to go that extra mile to save the environment from truckloads of trash.

Craft beer

According to a survey, half of the under-30-year-olds have switched from commercial, bottled beer to craft beer.

The number one reason for this is trying something new and different, followed by the quality of beer. With craft beer, the young adventurous drinkers can experiment with a huge diversity of beer styles and taste profiles which are also seasonal and regional. From chocolate stout to fruity flavours, brewmasters are experimenting with a whole range of ingredients which was previously beyond imagination.

Going vegan

Veganism as a lifestyle choice has become quite popular in the last two years with 100 per cent vegan restaurants popping up everywhere.

So much so, that there are beers being brewed which can be called 100 per cent vegan.

No animal or fish products are used, not even to aid the processing of these beers.

With so much happening, there is plenty of scope for people to experiment, try new flavours and have a healthy diet.

(The author is executive chef, Fox In The Field)

(Published 30 December 2019, 18:58 IST)

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