Another year is nearly over and with it the food trends that once seemed so exciting and queue-worthy are now ready to be boxed up and put out on the nature strip – or at least relegated to retro Instagram hilarity. So what will be the cronut of the new year? Or the kalettes of 2018? Here are our top predictions…
THE TREND: Whole fish dining
Fillets? Bah, that’s so 2017. The nose-to-tail movement has grown tired of land-based life forms, donned a scuba suit and headed underwater. The edible fish future is about the lesser-known species – morwong, anyone? – along with all the offaly bits that were previously relegated to the bin such as eyes, liver and even sperm. The only dilemma is finding a catchy name to call it? Tail to gill? Fin to fin? Eating Nemo?
THE TREND: Freezling
Bye-bye frosé, freezling is here. The portmanteau of Riesling and freezing, freezling is frosé’s younger and possibly more exciting sibling. It was a big hit in the recent US summer, which means Australians can be sure to be hearing about freezling and its status as the next frontier in wine-based slushie, fruit-driven cocktails.
TRY IT AT
Annata, Sydney (they will do a freezling on request)
THE TREND: The hangover treatment
Smart cafes are honing in on their clients’ excesses by going straight for the morning-after-the-night-before jugular. Berocca is becoming a cheeky little fixture of venues frequented by a high proportion of party lovers, while menus play wingman by serving up all the salt-sugar-fat a regretful party animal could want.
THE TREND: Paperbark
No, we won’t be eating it; top chefs will be cooking with it. An extension of the super-hot trend for Australian native ingredients that has seen everything from lemon myrtle to native pepperberry, wattleseed and gubinge pop up on restaurant menus, the soft covering of the paperbark tree is an excellent vehicle for smoking and cooking protein and vegetables. The oils in the bark impart a delicate smoky flavour – plus it’s a visual winner for your dinner.
THE TREND: Root to leaf
As chefs look for ways to beat the eye-watering cost of meat and reduce waste, the concept of root-to-leaf vegetable cooking is taking flight. Translation: chefs are trying to use every single part of a fresh ingredient instead of allowing it to go in the bin. Be prepared for the delights of the shaved broccoli stem (surprisingly sweet) and 101 things to do with pumpkin skin and seeds.
THE TREND: Rosewater latte
Nasturtium flowers are passé; the turmeric latte completely old hat. But things are looking rosy in 2018. While lattes of every colour have been emerging under the caffeine-denying banner of healthy drinks, it’s now time for rosewater’s moment in the sun. It’s traditionally been used in natural medicine to help with bloating and indigestion – plus it’s damned pretty.
TRY IT HERE
Fort Green, Northcote
THE TREND: The new health drink
Move over cold pressed juices; smart drinks just arrived. These are what you drink when you’re not ready to hang up your dancing shoes but are too health conscious to chug down 10 serves of Red Bull and Coke. A saviour for the wellness crowd that just wants to have fun, we’re moving beyond the mocktail to packaged juices, tonics and “mylks” (with various nut milks as their base), with added organic ingredients designed to help you party until the wee small hours. You can even pre-emptively counteract any alcohol damage by purchasing "hangover prevention tonics and juices" as you stagger out of a venue. Winning!
TRY IT HERE
THE TREND: Lobster
Let’s call it a fanfare for the common man. For too long lobster has been the domain of rich Champagne swillers but now it’s breaking its class shackles and becoming something positively democratic (well, almost). The lobster roll is taking over Australia one venue at a time, with predictions we’ll be at Peak Lobster sometime in February.
THE TREND: Floating bars
What’s more fun than drinking an Aperol Spritz in the sun? Drinking one in the sun and on water. Blame the property boom if you must but landlubbers better get their sea legs ready for the latest round of bars colonising waterways across Australia. Already in Sydney and Melbourne, look out for Perth’s first taste of floating party life on the Swan River in 2018.
Top image: Superfluid