It’s that time of year when the 5pm Dining blog peers into the past and tries to pick out the big food trends of the last twelve months.
Last year, we predicted that meat would be pushed to the side of the plate and that vegetables would begin to take centre stage.
We’re going to stand by that one. It’s just happening very gradually. For proof, we point to the rave reviews for Alchemilla which opened in Finnieston earlier this year.
It’s by no means a veggie restaurant but it does offer very appealing veggie dishes like roast cauliflower with tahini, hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds.
Staying at that end of town, The Drugstore Social lists options such as flatbread with squash, meadowsweet, smoked Arran brie and red onion petals. In Edinburgh, new places such as Forage and Chatter are cast from a similar mould.
Chicken or beef?
Having said that veg-forward dishes are on the rise, that doesn’t mean that we have all suddenly lost our taste for meat.
With Glasgow venues such as Porter & Rye, Kained Holdings always offered plenty of meat options but, like Buck’s or The Atlantic Brasserie, they put chicken at the forefront of their menu when they opened The Kelbourne Saint a couple of weeks back.
Their rotisserie chicken is the star of the stage at the new West End venue.
Burger off, pizza on
We can also say that 2016 was the year when burgers definitely came off the boil. Obviously, they will never go away but they are certainly not as drooled over as they were in 2014.
And yes, we know that ‘pizzas were this year’s burgers’ is a ridiculous phrase.
Social enterprise eats
Rather more meaningful has been the growth in social enterprise food and drink businesses in Scotland.
2016 saw the relaunch of Harry’s Bar in Edinburgh as a social enterprise plus the launch of Ginerosity, a gin whose profits are poured back into projects to help disadvantaged young adults here and abroad.
On the other side of the M8, Let’s Eat Glasgow staged a hugely successful pop-up restaurant festival which acted as both a showcase and fundraising event for food-based social enterprises.
Of course, if we are going to talk about food businesses which are social enterprises then we must mention Home, the Edinburgh restaurant which encourages diners to pay forward a meal for homeless people.
Part of the Social Bite network of catering ventures, the restaurant opens on Monday afternoons for an exclusive service for the homeless.
Edinburgh came to a standstill in November when Leonardo Di Caprio visited the Queensferry Street restaurant to help publicise Social Bite.