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December 27, 2017
food trends
Food trends: Clark and Lake is one of several new wine bars to have opened in Edinburgh in 2017.

The 5pm Dining blog does not always have a 100% record when it comes to predicting food trends. However, last year, we did OK.

We echoed the view of the Brooklyn-based restaurant consultants Baum + Whiteman that 2017 would see rise in the numbers of ‘restaurants without seats’.

The former refers to a growing trend for American restaurants and food brands to set up commercial kitchens in low rent, industrial zones.

Staffed by professional chefs, they have no dining room. They are production centres which simply cook meals for delivery to customers’ homes.

It is a form of takeaway but on an industrial scale. Put another way, they are restaurants without seats.

Sometimes called ‘dark kitchens’, they are already commonplace in London and various papers have reported that they are being rolled north at a rate of knots.

Brighton, Reading, Nottingham, and Leeds all have dark kitchen organised by Deliveroo.

We are happy to be corrected but we don’t think this is yet happening in Scotland. But it will.

Food trends: semi-permanent street food markets

Another take on the ‘restaurants without seats’ idea can be seen in the way that the street food sector is developing in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

In the last the last twelve months, there has been a boom in semi-permanent street food markets.

Sure, there have long been farmers’ markets with a strong street food presence. However, more recently, organisations such as Big Feed and Dock Yard Social have created semi-permanent homes for a rotating roster of street food traders in Glasgow.

In Edinburgh, the Pitt Market (est 2015) and its related market, The Food and Flea, launched in early 2017, fulfil a similar function.

Last year, we also predicted that the wine bar was back with a bang. We may have missed the mark in Glasgow. However, in Edinburgh, 2017 saw the launch of The Fat Pony, Clark and Lake, The Quay Commons and Toast Leith, all of which serve up their own take on a wine bar.

Food trends: bye bye meat?

Last but not least, we predicted that vegetables would start to push animal-based protein out from its usual starring role on the plate.

To be fair, we have been predicting this for years with limited proof that we were right. 2017 seems to have been the year that alternatives to eating meat went mainstream.

We’ll have a lot more to say on the matter over the next couple of days. However, we will point out that one of the finalists on the recent series of MasterChef The Professionals served up a carrot steak as the centrepiece of his dish.

When Gregg Wallace praises a ‘carrot steak’ on primetime TV without making a joke about it then a tectonic plate has shifted somewhere.

We’ll be back over the next couple of days with some forecasts, tips and suggestions about what we might be eating in 2018.