On trend: Pollo a la Brasa is served at Pastuso Peruvian restaurant in Melbourne. Photo: Paul Jeffers
Predicting the weather six months in advance is easier than predicting food and drink trends for the year ahead. Good Food bravely forges on with the task regardless. Here we present our best, finger-in-the-air guess for what we'll be scoffing and quaffing in 2015.
Roots and leaves. Expect more vegetables and dishes that look like natural history illustrations as "peel-to-stem" is bandied about in the manner of "nose-to-tail". There'll also be less intervention with these ingredients. Using top quality, local produce is nothing new. However, more kitchens are letting meat and vegetables speak for themselves instead of suffocating them in sauce or pimping them up for the sake of being "cheffy".
The seafood tartare plate featuring sea urchin at Kappo, Melbourne. Photo: Luis Ascui
We're going to eat a lot more sea urchin (known as uni in Japan and the blogosphere). It's popping up a fair bit already in Australia but nothing like it has been in the US, where it was the bacon of 2014.
Speaking of which, bacon silliness will cease. No more bacon-infused cocktails and ice-cream. More importance will be placed on the quality and provenance of the bacon rather than how many rashes can fit on a donut.
There'll be tartare everywhere. And not just the standard beef variety. Wallaby and kangaroo tartare is on the rise and it's likely venison will get the raw dice treatment too. Actually, expect a lot more venison in general. Thanks to local supply, quiet deer isn't quite as dear as it used to be.
Red hot: A blood sausage sandwich from Ester in Sydney is a taste of things to come. Photo: Fiona Morris
And while you're eating all that raw meat, get used to the sight of blood. Now that blood sausage has become a menu standard, expect to see blood mousse, blood jelly and baked goods using blood as an egg substitute.
We'll dine out more at double-jointed joints. For example, a shop that's a butcher during the day and a charcuterie/wine bar at night. Or an art gallery that becomes a concept restaurant on the weekend. If you're going to pay top dollar for a lease, why not utilise it for its maximum potential and maximum number of hours per day?
More places will open casual take-aways next to, or inside, the existing restaurant. Think fine-dining Italian places with a pizza bar next door and sit-down Greek taverns selling souvlaki to eat on the street. In fact, the concept was possibly pinched from Greece, where souvla bars are often attached to the main tavern.
Old-school French food. A reaction against both molecular gastronomy and casual share-plates, we'll see an increase in rich, buttery French cooking that shows off top-tier ingredients and refined technique with minimal novelty.
And this might just be, finally, with a bit of luck, the year for Peruvian food. Every year it's predicted to take off but never quite makes it. A bit like Korean food until recently. Korean, by the way, will be around for some time yet. The same goes for yakitori and American barbecue.
Natural wine sales will continue to take over wine lists. It's ultra-hip, fun to explore and easy to market – regardless of what some wine writers say about the taste. Prosecco will also continue to rise in popularity as an alternative to champagne.
More high-end wines will be available by the glass thanks to the Coravin "wine-access system". It's a stainless-steel contraption with a long needle that's inserted through a bottle's cork to extract as much or as little wine as you like without turning the rest of the plonk to vinegar. Great for sampling old-world wines although not so useful for domestic screw-caps.
Craft beer isn't cool in unless it's hyper-local. Pub chalkboards that once advertised Texas hold'em poker now read "Craft beer on tap" and the post-hipster set (if that's a thing) has reacted by drinking cheap imports and classic Australian brews such as VB and Melbourne Bitter. Local craft brewers with a community focus and/or a strong brand including Young Henry's and Moon Dog will continue to thrive but mainstream "craft" beers such as James Squire, Little Creatures and Matilda Bay are about as fashionable as corduroy pants from Rivers. Unless the beer is in a can, in which case its coolness level triples.
Yes, cans. Especially cans of watery beer from overseas. Throwback import beer has been infiltrating small bars over the past few years but Dave Chang really got the cheap-can snowball rolling in late 2014. In an article written for GQ, the Momofuku chef trolled craft beer and compared watery supermarket beer to champagne. Chang has wide-reaching influence so expect to see more easy-drinking cans of Tecate, OB, Hite, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Bud Light around the traps.
Spirits and cocktails
We'll see more Australian-made spirits in bars and bottle shops, especially gin using native Australian botanicals. Gin will be the spirit of choice in 2015. Sales of high-end mezcal and tequila will increase as booze geeks begin to appreciate the agave plant liquors in the same way as whisky.
The recent wave of negroni love will lead to greater demand for bitter, savoury and booze-heavy cocktails such as the sazerac and vieux carre. More bars will create house versions of the negroni but if it's not equal parts gin, Campari, and vermouth, it's not a negroni. Sorry, it's just not.
Bloody Marys aren't going anywhere as the brunch cocktail of choice but have you heard of cereal milk punch? Christina Tosi of New York's Momofuku Milk Bar started making "cereal milk" a couple of years ago by steeping toasted cornflakes in cold milk and brown sugar. It tastes, as one would expect, like the last bit of milk in a sugary bowl of cereal and Tosi uses it to make desserts such as panna cotta and ice-cream. Using it in milk punch – a bourbon or brandy-based milk cocktail popular over brunch in New Orleans – was a natural progression. It's only a matter of time before we start dunking cronuts in it.
Also, banana daiquiris, mezcal-based margaritas and dirty Shirley Temples. Expect them to appear on a cocktail list near you.