The New Year brings new trends. Some stick, some go and some linger on the menu. 2015 was a busy year for food festivals, pop up restaurants and healthy eating. What’s coming next? Our food experts stare into the crystal ball to reveal the tastes you’ll crave, the cuisines you’ll want to try and restaurants you’ll queue up for in the New Year. I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings.
1. Regional Indian Cuisine It’s always enlightening to see trends that have lasted. 2015 saw a growing appetite for modern Indian food, presenting local cuisines like never before. Diners and chefs showed keen interest in exploring various indigenous ingredients, accepting new dishes with an open mind rather than wanting to bet their money on International cuisines. The New Year will see more traditional ingredients and cooking styles being reinterpreted.
“Regional Indian Food is still picking up in India. It hasn’t reached its peak yet and therefore in the coming year we will see more such concepts. The restaurateurs have also realized that it is easier to research on regional cuisines, source ingredients, get skilled cooks, meet the authentic mark, rather than trying to do the same with an International cuisine. Moreover, customers are appreciating the new look to Indian cuisine because the flavours are familiar yet the presentation and a few elements are completely new. So yes, modern Indian food is still evolving.” - Marryam H Reshii, Eminent Food Critic.
“I do believe that regional cuisine will finally get its due credit. Foods from one region will find space in a city that it's not available in. And these will be done by modern pubs and restaurants, and not by traditional outlets. There appears to be an increase in awareness, and interest.” - Priyadarshini Nandy, Food Writer.
2. Chef-Driven Restaurants and Quirky Concepts I am thrilled at the idea of cocktail bars, underground caverns, shabby-chic cafes and restaurants that offer something a little bit alternative with blurred boundaries.
“2016 will most likely see the opening of many cafes with interesting and quirky themes, more personality and soul. There are a lot of young entrepreneurs with bright ideas and we’ll see them giving shape to their thoughts.” – Restaurateur AD Singh.
“I feel 2016 will see a boom of chef-driven restaurants. We are already seeing a few such concepts mushrooming in the country.” - Manu Chandra, Chef Partner at The Fatty Bao & Monkey Bar and Executive Chef Olive Beach, Bangalore.
3. Dining In and Gourmet Catering With advanced technology and better logistics, food service and delivery are ripe for transformation . You'll see faster delivery and more personalized services.
“Customers will have incredible options to choose from and we will also see professionalism among home chefs, where they will be trying to promote their regional delicacies. Being able to savour authentic, home cooked, regional meals will indeed be a welcoming change.” – Restaurateur AD Singh.
HollyBelly Food Boutique in New Delhi offers a great way to entertain a crowd. Expect a seven course meal, stylish catering and some exotic ingredients – all in the comfort of your home. “We promote a concept like Food by Mood where we customize the meal according the client’s palate, the weather and ingredients,” – Chef Janeya Khanna and Chef Rishi.
4. The Craft of Blending Whether it’s blended tea or wines, you’ll be surprised by the lovely fusion of flavours, creative flair and unusual taste. Mixing flavours correctly is both an art and since. It allows the makers to experiment, combine and let customers discover something new. For instance, wine blends offer a lot more complexity than single varietal wines. By blending, they can change wine qualities. In Indian wines, I like the Grover’s Cabernet Shiraz red wine which is a beautiful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz grapes with a delicate spicy taste.
Besides new blends, tea would be a hero and a key ingredient in everything. “Tea has been a rage in 2015 and in 2016 I think it’s even going bigger and better. Tea infused food, cocktails, jams and desserts are gaining acceptance all over. Desserts like Chilly Chai Truffle, Marigold Tea Porched Pear and Cocktails like Green Tea Infused Vodka are some of my experiments with this majestic drink.” - Snigdha Manchanda, Tea sommelier who specializes in crafting hand-blended teas.
5. Casual Family Dining will Make a Comeback Casual family dining fell out of favour with the rise of hip cafes and the pub culture and has struggled to get back ever since. Now, however, chefs want to go back to the retro dishes and serve them with a contemporary twist and side of nostalgia.
“We will see the return of the multi-cuisine concept with an inclination towards building a family dining space. Casual dining will be the way ahead and we will also be seeing bars serving more old-style, comfort food.” - Chef Jatin Mallick of Tres in New Delhi.
6. Artisan & Health Products The health food scene exploded in 2015 with juice bars and organic stores popping up all over, moving forward we’ll experience a deep love for craft, creativity and the community. Natural products can definitely be leveraged in the commercial food space in India in 2016. There will be a bigger emphasis on authenticity.
“We will be seeing more of artisan producers, offering exclusive range of products. Health food will grow and we will definitely be seeing interesting products in this segment, beyond cold-pressed juices and others.” Anoothi Vishal, Food Writer and Critic.
This year we’ll go beyond artisan tea and Meherwan Bawa,founder of a gourmet meat shop, Artisan Meats has already set the stage, "Getting away from processed food was my main objective when starting with this venture. We source our meat directly from breeders and farmers of poultry farms and have our own farm at Uttarakhand. Since people are now more aware about their health preferences, hand-crafted sausages, meat and ham with no preservatives have been a hit. I believe that as people are getting aware of artisanal stuff, 2016 will be a good year with more opportunities."
7. Locally Sourced Everything Restaurants will trumpet their local purchase. How a dish tastes depends a lot on the freshness of the ingredient, and the chef's culinary techniques.
"To ensure premium quality and less dependence on imported goods, chefs are now looking out for ingredients that are locally grown. There are farms in Chattarpur and Gurgaon that supply vegetables like different kinds of beetroot, fresh herbs and artichokes that were earlier imported and not found locally. Apart from Delhi, farms in Ooty, Bangalore and Pune also supply and grow their own ingredients. Many hotels too are growing their own veggies on rooftops and creating kitchen gardens."- Chef Sujan Singh from Ek Bar, New Delhi
With young India becoming conscious about their fitness and health, and eating out as much at the same time - cafes and restaurants that sell calorie conscious or diet-friendly food would also do well.
8. Underground Restaurants Here’s a food trend I’d like to see more of, for my own selfish reasons, and because it’s rather unique. These are more like closed-door restaurants or supper clubs.
“We've had speakeasy bars and now we will see underground restaurants like the emerging Ramen underground scene in Chicago and New York.” - Ashwin Rajagopalan, Cross Cultural Training Expert and Lifestyle Writer.
9. Small Plates Dining Small plates or 'dishes for sharing' will conquer restaurant menus to offer dinners a new experience. Having a variety of starters on the menu is the hottest trend right now and we look forward to see more of it in the coming year. Dainty pizzetas topped with chorizo, toasty bread sticks with beetroot hummus and cheese tartlets - that's a start. Small plates are entering the mainstream. Gear up for street food inspired appetizers, platters and combos or perhaps an all-Tapas menu.