Guest Post by Douglas Blyde

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!
Cabaia
Linde Werdelin
Touraine Loire Valley
Lutyens Restaurant
Café Spice Namaste
Decanter World Wine Award
Les Gourmets des Ternes
La Grande Maison
St Remy
Nederberg
Metaxa
Friarwood
Cavia Sturia
Ca Grands Crus
Bernard Magrez
Bar Convent Berlin
Bains
Amarula
Distell
Justerini & Brooks
Cowdray
Il Gusto
Franciacorta
SushiShop
Cointreau
Cramele Recas
Corkers
The Balcon
Edgerton Gin