Despite the difficult economic climate, good restaurants continue to thrive in South Africa. An overriding trend for 2015 is that taste is paramount. While our restaurants continue to express their individuality, local cuisine is flourishing and many underlying trends seen overseas are appearing.
South African Restaurants Are Unique
Dining in South Africa is unique as all the top restaurants differ, and no two chefs appear to think the same. This variety provides restaurant-goers with diverse eating experiences, an encounter that is refreshingly different from the tendency apparent in the UK, particularly London, for restaurants to follow current trends to such a degree that they all seem the same.
According to Executive Chef Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek and Executive Chef David Higgs of Saxon Hotel’s Five Hundred Restaurant, everywhere you visit in this country you will experience something completely different as South African chefs strive for perfection in their own unique way.
Trend towards Local Culinary Traditions
The revival of traditional cooking methods using ingredients that have been forgotten is continuing. Eat Out editor, Abigail Donnelley, says that local South African ingredients are really hot in our restaurants. These include ingredients such as wild sage, sand dune spinach, seaweed, ferns, and even the fruit of the Num-Num tree, a sour, tart, spongy fruit with a fresh clean taste.
Sustainability is Important
In 2015, the use of foods produced by sustainable methods will be preferred. Chefs are using seafood caught using sustainable fishing methods, meat raised under hygienic natural conditions, and vegetables grown organically. Also, every part of an animal and vegetable is considered important, and may be used to create different and exciting dishes.
Australia is a country that is home to thousands of South Africans. Some of the trends apparent there are also seen here, such as the growth of micro-breweries and the use of indigenous ingredients like natural plants, wild salads, and traditional foods such as dehydrated (dried) vegetables.
And the USA
The USA is a country with a long-standing custom of eating out. Some of the trends emerging there include the use of small portions of classical foods such as mini tacos for hors d’oeuvres. Known as grazing, this offers guests a variety of tastes in bite-size portions and are offered as small platters for sharing. Vegetarian items such as vegetable rolls, stuffed squash, and spinach caponata are joining the menu, in preference to large meat portions.
As in South Africa and Australia, craft beers from small breweries are becoming more popular and there is an emphasis on the use of organically produced foods and an avoidance of products produced using unethical methods. A particular trend that is gaining momentum is the purchase of meals online from restaurants for home delivery.
Different yet with Similarities
South African chefs are clearly making their own way forward. They are focusing on their individuality, which can only be to our benefit in 2015, but at the same time are aware of the trends overseas towards the use of indigenous ingredients, traditional recipes, and the need to utilize products produced by sustainable means.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think will be restaurant trends for 2015? Share with us below.
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