Our second guest blog post comes from Douglas Blyde who is described as ‘one of the most respected (and well-fed) experts on eating out in the capital’ (Evening Standard). For 15 years he has written in-depth profiles on the minds behind restaurants, drinks, related iconic design and travel.
We wanted to get to know Douglas a bit more so read below for a special Clementine Communications Q&A:
In your opinion, what are the key F&B and dining trends for 2018?
- Dining in proximity to a wood-fired oven in a restaurant (as at Nuala, Shoreditch) driven by a desire from the guest to see, smell and feel the warmth of the element of fire in relation to their food.
- Chefs sharing personal playlists in their dining rooms, with variable results.
- Transparency on menus and wine lists which inherently include in item pricing, a fair, non-optional service charge.
- Growth of interest, when abstaining from alcohol, in sophisticated, low-to-no sugar soft drinks, and single estate teas and coffees instead of accompanying dishes with gallons of largely tasteless water.
- Restaurants working with directly English and Welsh wine producers to bottle their own cuvées.
Most ridiculous trend of 2018?
- The rise of any wine which calls itself ‘natural’ even if the taste is closer to vinegar than vin
What are the biggest challenges facing the food and drink industries?
- Key provisions suppliers struggling with a weak currency and price wars will go bust;
- Relentlessly painful rents and rates
- Financially spooked customers reigning in their spend in favour of supermarket-bought dining deals
- Relating to staffing in particular, the xenophobia of Brexit means a depleted talent pool
- Converting a new generation frightened of alcohol into reasoned consumption of it
- Appalling weather meaning an ever harder and smaller global wine and indeed ingredients harvest
What is the hottest restaurant in town right now?
- Noizé, in the thankfully much cosied-up former site of Dabbous
What’s your favourite/go-to drink of all time?
- Currently The Gibson, using vivacious Hepple Gin from Northumberland. One of the minds behind it, Valentine Warner calls it the Moorland Martini
One to watch? Chef / bartender / restaurant
- Chef, Asimakis Chaniotis at Pied à Terre, Marylebone whose plates feature a sense of drama in their aesthetic, and conviction in their combined flavours
- Mixologist, Alessandro Villa at Core, Notting Hill who designed the mead-enriched ‘Honeysop’, fusing rosemary infused Scotch with German vermouth, monastic liqueur Benedictine, and Gosnells mead from Peckham
- Restaurant, 45 Jermyn Street, Mayfair, whose beautifully illustrated menus carry lavish dishes prepared at table, from caviar with fluffy, golden scrambled eggs, to a terrific beef Wellington
What would your last supper be?
- Truffled venison tartare, oysters from our shores naked of condiments, and snails drenched in garlic butter, accompanied by antique Bollinger. Followed by a Toblerone!