What do spring menus have to do with bikini season?

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Spring cuisine

With summer on the horizon, consumers’ mind sets inevitably shift to healthy food. While our new year’s resolutions may have gone out the window some time ago, the thought of being out in our lighter summer clothes and swimwear is often a big incentive to ditch the carbs and seek out healthier options.

These days, restaurants have a responsibility to cater to the health-conscious, not only with fresh, innovative dishes, but also light or non-alcoholic drinks. At the end of 2017, several top UK chefs spoke to iNews about their predicted trends for 2018. Mark Greenaway, chef and owner of Restaurant Mark Greenaway in Edinburgh, was adamant that Kombucha, which contains probiotic bacteria and antioxidants, will be big in 2018. This unusual sweetened, fermented tea drink can be used in cocktails and in marinades and dressings, and shows just how adventurous consumers have become in all aspects of dining.

Ben Marks, chef and co-founder of Perilla in London, predicted that vegan food will be on trend this year: “I think vegan food will become far more common and accessible as people become more conscious about the environment and their health. I think we’ll see top chefs having to embrace the movement. Dietaries have massively increased since I started cooking, and it’s difficult to ignore the issues that are arising with our environment.”

Other trends predicted by renowned chefs included a rise in farm-to-table, less protein, less sugar and healthier breakfasts. With all of this in mind, how are 2018’s spring menus shaping up, and how is this relevant to bikini season?

Spring menus 2018

Bunches of asparagus.jpg

One key element to note is that while spring is traditionally a time when people think about being ‘beach body ready’, the current industry trends are reflecting an overall change in attitude, which will stretch across all seasons. Gone are the days of ‘dirty’ burgers and oversized pizzas – 2018 brings with it a wave of change in consumer habits, to fresh, seasonal, sustainable food and healthy yet innovative alternatives.

Petersham Nurseries in Richmond is bringing nature into the heart of the capital with its two new restaurants, both opening in spring 2018. La Goccia will be a vibrant, all-day restaurant with an open kitchen and wood-fired oven, as well as a beautifully fresh and seasonal menu to match. “La Goccia offers Petersham Nurseries’ interpretation of the Italian aperitivo and small plates known as ‘cicchetti’”, says the company website. “The emphasis on seasonality is key to the extensive menu that will change regularly with the best seasonal produce.”

Its other new restaurant, The Petersham, will be an elegant and refined a la carte eatery. “Respecting the slow food philosophy of good, clean and fair and the traditions on which Petersham Nurseries Richmond was founded, The Petersham focuses on the finest seasonal produce, quality ingredients and Italian flavours” says the company. Everything about these new restaurants promotes a healthier way of eating out, and as the weather improves, people will be out socialising and seeking out these fresh and exciting spring menus.

Over at Fortnum & Mason, the arrival of spring can only mean one thing – asparagus. The Gallery restaurant will be showcasing a menu with four out of five dishes featuring asparagus, including grilled asparagus with parma ham, scrambled duck eggs with asparagus and chives and even an asparagus chutney. This delicious British vegetable is crammed full of vitamin A, which helps to protect our eyes, skin and immune system, as well as vitamin C, which strengthens our capillaries and aids collagen formation. This humble vegetable also has diuretic properties and anti-inflammatory effects.

Ditching the booze

 

According to The Caterer, recent ONS figures show that 21% of adults are not drinking alcohol at all, with younger consumers increasingly drinking alcohol less. This sway towards teetotalism is excellent news for the soft drinks industry, but restaurants and bars need to keep up with the trend this spring in order to pique the interests of their health-conscious customers.

In Notting Hill, Pomona’s even has a dedicated smoothie menu for those seeking to improve their diets with non-alcoholic, vitamin-packed alternatives. Opt for a green smoothie with spinach, apple, cucumber and nutmeg, the express kale smoothie with kale, almond milk, mango and honey or the goji green with goji berries, radish greens and apple. Each of these delicious, fresh smoothies are perfect for boosting your healthy diet this spring as they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to get you looking and feeling great for the summer. And Pomona’s’ Californian-inspired menu is equally appealing. Fresh fish and meat dishes, including Madagascan prawns and braised ox cheek, are cooked in a wood-fired or charcoal oven to create healthy and light dishes.

It’s fantastic to see so many restaurants, old and new, embracing 2018’s spring food trends. The emphasis on fresh, seasonal produce and farm-to-table dining will not only be great for British farmers and producers, but will also allow restaurants to experiment with their menus to create spring dishes that are not only delicious, but also naturally packed full of vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. With healthier produce making its way to our tables and innovative chefs in the kitchen, we’ll be in safe hands to keep our diets on track ahead of bikini season.