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16.10.2015

The UK’s future dining out trends

Sky high diners and the suburban supper club set; digital menus and cutlery-free service; permanent pop ups and ‘pay what you like’ restaurants...dining out is changing beyond recognition (and it’s never been so much fun).

With people increasingly choosing which restaurant to go to based not only on actual food but the entire dining experience, ‘French Wines with Style’ (a campaign set to promote French Wines), has carried out a UK-wide consumer poll to explore Britain’s latest eating out trends and predictions for the coming season.  The French Wines With Style Future Dining Trends Report reveals some interesting trends for dining out this Autumn/Winter season, and beyond.

Sharing Platter out; Tasting Menu in.

Restaurant goers are losing interest in Sharing Platter formats and traditional style menus and are instead tempted by the eight - ten course Tasting Menu, often accompanied by matching wine flights. Over 50% of survey participants have already experienced a sharing platter in the last two years with just 16% interested in trying the experience. However, whilst 13% of respondents have enjoyed a Tasting Menu, some 50% of respondents said they have not yet but would like to, with 24% saying they think the Tasting Menu format has the potential to become the norm.

Street food revolution set to continue.

Starting with small markets in the hip neighbourhoods of East London, the foodie phenomenon of the last two years has now reached many of the country’s major cities. Does the UK want to see more culinary kerbside action for 2016? Yes indeed.  Whilst almost half of the Londoners responding have experienced street food in the last two years, only 29% of respondents from across the UK in total have done so, with a further 30% wanting to try and 26% stating that street food culture has the potential to become the norm.

More pop-ups on the way.

Having exploded over the last few years in so many different formats and guises, is the pop up set to fizzle out in 2016 in place of something new? It seems not. Only 10% of survey participants have visited a pop up in the last two years yet a further 44% of respondents say they have not experienced but would like to, so it looks as though there is still plenty of mileage left in this fun and quirky experience that ties in so well with a growing ‘Do it now, don’t miss out!’ culture.

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Sky high dining on the rise.

Still a relatively new trend for the nation’s restaurant goers - many of whom are yet to experience the glamour and allure of sky high dining with good food and great views! Only 15% of survey participants have experienced this trend in the last two years, but a huge 53% have not yet, but would like to.  Survey participants were asked if dining with a view was as important as or more important than the food, and a surprising 35% of respondents confirmed that it was.  20% believe that Sky High dining is set to become the norm.

Supper Club trend set to roll out across the UK.

Over the last few years a growing number of people have been choosing to swap fine dining in top restaurants for more intimate experiences in underground supper clubs – where they can enjoy home-cooking prepared by ordinary people with a passion for cooking in their own homes.  Yet of those interviewed in this survey, only 6% have experienced a Supper Club in the last two years, but a further 34% of respondents would like to. Interestingly this has wide appeal across all age brackets including the 45 - 54 age bracket.

Other dining out trends highlighted in the survey include: the continued rise of locally sourced menus, a bigger focus on digital dining and the introduction of ‘Pay What You Like’ menus – a relatively new dining trend where consumers are invited to pay what they believe the meal is worth, with only 5% of respondents having experienced this last trend in the last two years and a further 42% wanting to try. 

Finally, a word on social media and all those instagrammed food snaps - if you want to get away from the snappers, avoid the Capital: 9% of Londoners said they ‘embraced food trends when dining out in order to post pictures on social media’, against a UK average of only 3%.

But, with so many dining styles and formats to choose from, are there particular French wines that can really enhance the dining experience? One of the world’s top sommeliers and French Wines With Style Ambassador, Gérard Basset MW OBE has the answer:

‘In the UK we have never been more spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out - whether it’s a pop up in the park or ‘sky high’ dining, there’s always something new to enjoy. And it’s not just in London, it’s all over the country. French Wines With Style have created a simple way of choosing the best French wines for each of these trends- have fun experimenting!’

Gérard’s top tips as to which French wines go best with some of the UK’s latest dining trends: 

For the Cool & Laid Back diner prepared to take a leap of faith with gourmet experiences such as the surprise tasting menu.  This calls for a versatile wine which can go with all sorts of food.

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Try a Rosé d’Anjou from the Loire: off-dry, fresh and fruity with a touch of sweetness that works well with mildly spiced food.  If you prefer a red wine, a Minervois from the Languedoc is medium-bodied with lots of black fruit flavours and hint of herb and spice.

If you’re after a Fun &Quirky dining experience such as the latest pop up craze or BYO pizza farms, how about something vibrant and exciting such as a Côtes de Gascogne from the South West of France –fresh and fruity, dry and crisp, with peach and apricot hints and a zingy, zesty finish. Or for something a bit different, try a Vin de France made with the Chenin Blanc grape – dry, fresh with lovely apple and quince notes.

To match the Authentic & Natural flavours of today’s street food revolution, why not try a Morgon, from Beaujolais. With juicy red and black fruit, light tannins and a fresh finish, it will be a perfect partner, as will Côtes de Bourgogne Blanc– a nutty, dry and sophisticated Burgundian white made from the Chardonnay grape.

For those who can’t resist the allure of fancy wine flights and sky high dining, Chic and Glamorous is the way to go. Try Sauternes, a luscious sweet white from Bordeaux, with decadent candied fruit aromas and tropical flavours of mango and spice. Or go for an equally sophisticated perfumed red such as a Côte Rôtie from the Rhône, with delicate floral notes, rich red fruit and a hint of savoury game.

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