Restaurant magazine’s 2012 predictions

By Restaurant magazine

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sausage, Chef

Will the Ledbury win a third Michelin star in 2012? Restaurant magazine hopes so
Will the Ledbury win a third Michelin star in 2012? Restaurant magazine hopes so
With a year packed full of national and restaurant-related events, BigHospitality’s sister publication Restaurant magazine has published its own series of sage predictions for 2012. The crystal ball goes into overdrive: High-quality German sausage, grimy noodle bars, mid-market tasting menus and Polpetto's Florence Knight...

Industry Trends

Olympics overload is inevitable.​ Led by a tidal wave of Olympics inspired British pies. Mypy, anyone?

Pizza chains try to dismantle the discounting culture.​ Expect a concerted effort by the major casual-dining players to wean their clientele off perennial voucher offers – with mixed success (at best).

Mobile Street food

Mobile street food becomes immobile.​ Meatwagon’s transformation into Meatliquor and barbeque van Pitt Cue’s new residency in Soho is just the start of itinerant food vans laying down more permanent roots. Look out for cult burrito purveyor Daddy Donkey’s new site in the spring and then, who knows?

Japanese food in the UK moves beyond sushi. ​Aided by London’s first genuine ‘izakaya’ or Japanese pub.

Mid-market tasting menus start to crop up more frequently. ​The multi-course no-choicer is no longer restricted to high-end gastronomy: gastropubs and off-beat indies with ambitious chefs extend their set menus into tasting territory. Whether or not this is a good development depends entirely on the execution…

South American frenzy prompts poor pastiches.

The fashionable fuss around Ceviche, De La Panza, Cabana and co prompts an unfortunate wave of South American culinary appropriation by chefs who don’t know their asado from their elbow. Be very afraid.


Bo Innovation fuels a new Asian invasion. ​Demon chef Alvin Leung brings​his unique brand of ‘X-Treme​Chinese cuisine’ to the UK this​year, sparking a new wave of​experimental and​downright crazy​Asian food.​Edible​condoms – as​featured in​Leung’s infamous​Sex on the Beach​dish (left) – are the new​Meat Fruit. Trust us.

Grimy noodle bars are quite the thing. ​The rise of Pho and udon noodle dishes make way for a new breed of more basic ‘street-food’ noodle bars this year.

Five guys goes down a storm in the UK. ​The nation embraces glorious, unashamedly unhealthy burgers.

Private-equity firms pile into the ‘all-you-can-eat’ world-buffet sector. ​And that means a Cosmo, Red Hot World Buffet, Jimmy Spices or Za Za Bazaar (or possible several of the above) is even more likely to open in an edge-of-town shed near you.

Taste re-establishes its rightful place at the top of chef’s agendas. ​While worthiness gets relegated to the second division.


More chefs discover multi-functional cooking systems. ​Taking up a similar footprint to a six-burner stove, these semi-automated direct cooking specialists – the Frima VarioCooking Center and MKN’s FlexiChef being prime examples – can do the work of several stand-alone machines, including deep-frying, pasta boiling, grilling and steaming.

Water baths begin to appear in domestic kitchens. ​Does this spell the beginning of the end for the sous-vide revolution among the professional ranks?


Milk bars are the new raw bars. ​The next successful concept crosses the pond. If nothing else, the recently-published Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook whets the appetite for milk and cookie-based delights.

Pop-ups become passé… underground restaurants get buried. ​The ephemeral and ‘secret’ nature of these highly-publicised openings finally creates a backlash.

Google Wallett starts its easy-payment revolution. ​The Android app allows shoppers – and diners – to make one-tap payments in stores, cafés and restaurants, opening up new opportunities for operators to integrate offers, loyalty and location.


The following chefs established themselves as forces to be reckoned with:


Florence Knight (left) of Polpetto, London

  • Paul Foster of Tuddenham Mill, Newmarket, Suffolk
  • Magnus Nilsson of Faviken, Sweden
  • James Golding at The Pig, Brockenhurst, Hampshire
  • Stuart Dove at The Leconfield, Petworth, West Sussex
  • Ollie Dabbous at his new eponymous restaurant in London.

Food & Drink


The rise of the high-quality German sausage gathers pace. ​The all-American hot dog is so 2011, this year sausages go all Continental on us. Mine’s a double Gypsy Bratwurst.


Eastern European cuisine comes in from the cold. ​Led by Mishkin’s, with its take on Jewish classics (right), and The Delaunay, with its reworking of Austro-Hungarian delights (left). Others follow where these two trailblazers lead them (however unlikely the destination).


Less-familiar fishy bits become fashionable. ​Cheeks, belly, liver and snout. Meanwhile, hake and sustainable caviar go mainstream.

Beef cartel develops beyond cult. ​St John Bread and Wine chef Niall Davidson’s all-too-brief exploration of beef beyond steak at dining event Beef Cartel, which debuted last year, returns. Expect demand to be verging on the insane.

Petillant Naturel Rose is the drink of the summer. ​Pink fizz, to you and me – but made the non-Champagne way with no dosage.

Low-temperature coffee (almost) comes to the boil. ​Espresso machines and individual cafetieres are done, instead gravity-defying siphon brewers, or vacpot systems, look the business (above) and yield a delicate coffee. The brew gurgles but, critically, does not boil, maintaining an ideal brewing temperature of around 90°C, which preserves the bean’s more delicate flavour compounds.

These delights cement their place on foodie menus:

  • Tongue
  • Goose
  • Abalone
  • Beef dripping
  • Savoury doughnuts
  • Ceviche
  • Cedro lemon
  • Blood

Random hunches

Balthazar opens late. ​Keith McNally is a stickler for detail. The London version of his Manhattan brasserie has already been put back a number of times. The latest prediction is ‘post-Olympics’. Any money on November or December?

Lots of people try to talk about location-based marketing. ​Few really know what it means, let alone exactly how to exploit the technology.


Sat Baines ‘does a Roganic’. ​Will the brilliant Nottingham chef dip his toe into the London water at last?

Russell Norman opens yet another restaurant. ​But this time a larger one in Soho with more than 120 covers (once he’s found a site). With a new menu concept and them, naturally.


The Ledbury wins a third Michelin Star. ​(We hope).

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