Food & Drink Trend Predictions For 2016

8 January 2016 | 3:39 pm | Stephanie Liew

What's gonna boom?

Cuisines: Malaysian and Peruvian

The Malaysian restaurant boom already started towards the end of last year, with Sugar Prawn, Little Peddler and Hawker Hall all opening in Melbourne. But we expect that a few more eateries will pop up, giving us plenty more places to get our laksa, CKT and satay fix. Lady Carolina and Pastuso in Melbourne are repping the Peruvian cuisine, but we're hoping we see more ceviche, alpaca and pisco on various menus or new restaurants this year.

Single-item restaurants

For example, Udon Yasan (udon), Soi 38 (boat noodles and tom yum noodles) and Brownie Bar (brownies), Dip In Cafe (bread and choice of house-made dip, with sides) and Mork Chocolate Cafe And Brew Bar (hot and cold choc drinks and products) — all of which opened up in Melbourne last year.

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Fermented and pickled foods will rise again. Gochujang will be a staple everywhere. Especially on the DIY front — soon enough no one will be buying kimchi from a store.

Fancy salts

The artisanal kind in nice packaging, with a focus on origin and texture, as well as flavoured salts like bacon salt, truffle, smoked serrano, lemon, vanilla...

Dining concepts

Progressive dinners. Dinner clubs (eg Nora in Melbourne). More accessible (and less extravagant) degustations.

Inventive/novelty drinks

Last year saw drinks such as the monster shake (every other cafe), fairy floss hot chocolate (Hash Specialty Coffee), and Sisko hot chocolate sphere with marshmallow (at Melbourne's Long Story Short cafe) take over the Instagram feeds of anyone vaguely interested in good brunch places. We can see this continuing as cafes try to come up with the next cute/fun/ridiculous thing, but with any luck, some of them will go a more refined/easy-on-the-waist route this year.

Breakfast trends

Flatbreads, more fusion, specific cuisine breakfasts, savoury porridge, decadent bircher, rice pudding, breakfast boards, lavish and beautifully presented pancakes/waffles/crumpets.

Alcohol trends

White port cocktails. Bars serving moonshine/homebrew. More brewery/distillery bars. Hot toddies.

Non-alcoholic drink trends

Almond milk and avocado will appear in more drinks (sometimes at the same time but also separately). Kombucha as a staple on cafe menus. Matcha-based drinks (more experimental than simply matcha lattes). Will Australia discover misutgaru (roasted mixed grain powder)?    

Decor trends

Exposed concrete. Matte black. Copper/other metals. Pastels used sparingly, but not so much brights. Lots of greenery. Ceramic crockery. Frosted glass. Timber.  

Dessert trends

Frozen custard. Pandan- and matcha-flavoured everything. Sweet pies. Croissants. Asian desserts such as cendol and gulab jamun will finally begin to be understood by the masses as common and not weird (remember: just because you don't know about another culture's food doesn't make it weird... maybe just plug it into Google and see what happens?); by extension, Western desserts will begin to experiment with non-Western ingredients and flavours more.

Misc ingredient trends

Seaweed. Black beans. Cauliflower. Trout. Roe. Mock meat. Flavoured oils and butters. Grains. Oysters. Spam. Yam/ube/taro. Peppers. Papaya.