What we'll be eating in 2014
"Haute chicken" is one of the predicted trends. Larissa Dubecki says Melbourne's "PM24 showed that roast chicken didn't need to be boring." Photo: Joe Armao
"Psychotasting", fancy butters, luxury roast chicken, artisan food halls and Middle Eastern cuisine – is this how and what Australians will be eating next year?
New York-based food and restaurant consultants Baum and Whiteman have released their 12 hottest dining trends for 2014. We consulted some chefs and restaurant critics for their views on whether they'll translate here.
Baum and Whiteman predict the US will be looking again to the Middle East, much to the amusement of chef and television personality Shane Delia.
"They're a bit slow on the uptake in New York; for a country who seem so paranoid with anything coming out of the Middle East it's funny to see them embracing the food culture," he says.
Sydney Morning Herald restaurant critic Terry Durack says that while Middle Eastern cuisine has "been around" he is noticing it creeping onto cafe menus.
"Shakshuka is almost an Australian icon now," he says. Coincidentally it is one of the list's brunch predictions.
The Age restaurant critic Larissa Dubecki singles out Greg Malouf as being an important figure on the local scene.
"He has a diaspora of chefs who've worked under him and gone off and done their own thing," she says.
"We're so ahead of the curve on that one, we've run away from that one."
Jason Jones of Mexican restaurant Mamasita and Moroccan restaurant B'Stilla in Melbourne is "stoked" that Moroccan received a mention in the list.
He predicts that Caribbean cuisine could be the next trend.
"Caribbean and Cuban food can be excellent, it's another unexposed cuisine. I think we'll see food from that little pocket of the world," Jones says.
Where we'll be eating
Artisan food halls are the new food court, with rumours that Italian megastore Eataly has been scouting Sydney sites.
"I think Eataly would be a huge success if it came here," says Durack. He can see the Eataly influence on Sydney's Fratelli Fresh.
"It's on a much smaller scale and I'm sure they've gone over and had a look at those huge emporiums in Italy and the States."
The list tips eateries inside department stores and museums to be revamped.
Larissa Dubecki says that while institutions are slow at responding to trends, she is interested about a new museum cafe.
"There's a new Islamic Museum opening in Brunswick next year and MasterChef contestant Samira will be opening an onsite cafe. I think that's quite interesting and quite clever," she says.
How we'll be eating
Sensory degustations and secret "psychotasting" sessions are popping up around the world at restaurants such as Shanghai's Ultraviolet and Paco Roncero's invite-only nine-seater "techno-dining" room in Madrid. At these events the lighting, music, smells, temperature and even wait staff are adjusted according to the "mood" of each course.
While Dubecki would "love to experience it", she doesn't believe our population would be able to sustain such avant garde events.
What we'll be eating
Baum and Whiteman believe the humble chicken "is going haute" with New York City restaurant Nomad serving a fancy $79 roast chicken for two.
While Dubecki doesn't expect to see similar pricing, she says chicken has gained credibility.
"Rotisserie has been quite a big thing here for about two years; Philippe Mouchel at PM24 showed that roast chicken didn't need to be boring," she says.
Fishy fish such as anchovies and mackerel are making their way onto US menus, and both our critics have noticed their prevalence here too.
"In the old days we were only interested in snapper and flathead, now we understand the health benefits of oily fish," Durack says.
"There is virtually an option there any time I eat out."
Bespoke butters and dips served with bread are another trend, according to Baum and Whiteman. Dubecki cites The Town Mouse's seaweed butter and Saint Crispin's smoked onion spread as local examples.
"Butter is becoming a little trend, with restaurants culturing it themselves."
Jason Jones doesn't think the American cuisine trend has realised its full potential – yet.
"I think we're yet to tap into the New Orleans type smoky barbecue stuff, that'll be a big hit," he says. "Australia is quite Americanised, burgers have gone ballistic and I reckon there's going to be a Kentucky fried chicken/Southern trend."
Durack agrees, and thinks that sliders and burgers will "keep going around for a few years yet".
Both he and Dubecki predict Korean to be the next big thing.
"Korean is sort of the Asian experience that we haven't really had that strongly," says Durack.
"I think Korean has threatened to trend and never really has, so I hope it does. [Chin Chin's] Chris Lucas is opening a Korean restaurant next year so wherever he goes everyone will follow," Dubecki says.
"I think it's about to realise its potential."