With a focus on fresh, seasonal produce and no shortage of ethnic influences, our ever-changing food scene can be difficult to keep up with if you’re not paying attention. But don’t worry because we’re on it, eating our way through the latest trends for the sake of staying in culinary fashion. Yup, it’s a tough life we lead here at The Urban List but somebody’s got to do it.
From Australia’s best restaurants, here are the food trends we’ve been noticing. Some we love, some we love to hate.
Weird pig parts
We’re talking about pig ears, heads and tails. But don’t be scared. More and more chefs around town are winning us over with their ability to make the weird bits taste great. One dish growing in popularity is crispy pig’s tail which typically features juicy, melt-in-your-mouth meat under a crackling outer layer of skin.
The 63 degree egg
People have dubbed it ‘the perfect egg’ so it has a big reputation to live up to. It involves a cooking technique called sous-vide in which the egg gets cooked in a temperature-controlled water bath at exactly—you guessed it—63 degrees. The result is a creamy white surrounding and a liquid gold center. Spread it over a slice of warm artisanal bread and the rest is pure eggy bliss.
Meat making a comeback
Sorry, Robert Downey Jr., but this may be our all-time favourite comeback. We’re talking about glorious, glorious meat, of course. Sure, meat never really disappeared, but this time around it’s all about a respect for the old ways like cooking over an open flame, using charcoal, or taking the time to slow-roast and smoke. Trendy vegetables like kale and heirloom tomatoes will get their 15 minutes of fame every now and then but meat owns the spotlight.
Komex (Korean-Mexican fusion)
Australia’s Korean food scene has been gaining traction for a good while now and with it Korean-Mexican fusion has made an entrance. It’s an odd pairing on paper but in reality, and in our bellies, it works extremely well. Like a kebab at 2 in the morning, Korean short rib galbi tacos and Korean beef bulgogi nachos pack big flavour and are intrinsically casual and comforting, making them crave-worthy especially after a night of boozing.
Provenance is all about chefs becoming intimately familiar with where their ingredients come from and how they’re fed, grown and handled. This obsessively ethical approach to food sourcing is something we will happily get behind. Plus, it’s always more interesting when your food has a story that goes beyond the restaurant kitchen.
LOVE TO HATE
We would never talk bad on bacon but if you’re going to put it in our ice cream, it can’t just taste like bacon and ice cream. Just adding bacon to our dessert doesn’t mean we’re instantly going to like it—it still has to taste good. So, if your bacon dessert creation only works on a surface level and it isn’t well-balanced, then let’s please keep the bacon off the dessert menu.
The bare minimalist glow of an Edison bulb was nice when only a handful of bars and restaurants had them. Now it seems as if they’ve become the ubiquitous method of lighting for any bar or restaurant owner who wants to be hip. Just a friendly reminder: there are other ways to light your space.
Nobody likes a name dropper, and the same sentiment applies to a restaurant’s menu. Sure, we love it when a restaurant has a strong relationship with its suppliers but there’s no need to fill up the menu with the names of every farm from which the produce was grown. Oh, this organic bok choy is from Wilmington Ranch? And the beets are from Caster Valley Farm? That’s very informative but more often than not we won’t know what it means and the truth is we won’t look it up.
Image credit: Tanya Lee