Listen, I like food. I’ve eaten it for most of my life, PRs often let me have it for free, and it’s given me some of my most distinctive chins. But surely, surely things have gone too far? You know what I mean — a Citroen food van on every corner; a melting chocolate bomb on every Instagram story; a wonky-veg start up in every ex-public school girl.
Yes, restaurants are the new rock and roll. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some truly heinous guitar solos out there. (And anywat, I’ve always preferred hip hop — that’s what Oxfordshire will do to a prep school boy.) Anyway, here are the food trends, tropes and cliches that I really hope perish in 2019. Bon appétit, as the French probably don’t say.
Asking “how pale is the rose?”
It doesn’t correlate to dryness like you think it does, and it’s basically posh girl shorthand for “do you have a double magnum of Whispering Angel I could be photographed next to?”
I’ve got friends, pal (look at my Instagram — you think all of those are bots?) In fact, some of them are sitting round the table as we speak (apart from Georgia — we’ve never really clicked, to be honest.) But I don’t need to add you to the mix.
Misdemeanours here include: waiters who crouch by your table like you’re five; waiters who refuse to write anything down; waiters who say “it really depends how hungry you are”; waiters who say “how we doing, guys?”; and waiters who ask if you’ve “eaten with us before” (careful, friend — I’m trying to conduct an affair over here.)
Faux-heritage names like “Horn & Hoof” or “Farm & Fried”. Your festival food van doesn’t need to sound like a Savile Row tailor, and how can you give pulled beef a backstory? Lazy, on the nose, and on the rise. (The only thing more nauseating is a plus sign.)
Cocaine for dull people.
Tizer for divorcees.
Mozzarella for chumps.
‘Press for Champagne’
Or: ‘Pay us more money for the waiter to do less work to bring you a drink you don’t really like to impress a date who is more interested in the novelty bathroom decorations who you met on a dating app you don’t understand using a line your more handsome friend wrote to replace a university girlfriend you never really loved.’ But hey, perhaps that’s just me.
Taking too long to order
“What are you going for?”
“Gina, if I have the duck salad, do you want to split it?”
“There’s so much good stuff to chose from”
“Does the nut roast have nuts in it?”
“Come back to me”
“Oh god I don’t know!”
“Can I go last please?”
“Are we splitting this?”
“Are we doing starters?”
“Does the beef come without beef, at all?”
“Will anyone else have some edamame beans if I order them?”
“Can we have five more minutes please?”
“Does the cream have cream in it?”
I don’t want my meals bottomless. I want them finite, and reasonably priced, and at normal times, and with far less choreographed squealing. Bottomless brunch invitations smell like tears at midday, standing inexplicably on tables, enforced team bonding, novelty headgear, girls who worry about how much the engagement ring cost, halloumi at short notice and early-onset hangovers. Actually, I’m in.
Those weird artificial flower walls you see on the outsides of restaurants now.
It’s far cheaper and easier just to print a sign that says: “Please, please, please post a photo of our restaurant on Instagram, honestly we’ll do anything.”
Fine, at the beginning. But don’t you feel like they’ve just got a little too big for their boots? Do you know that feeling when you’ve had four lagers on a school night, and you get to work the next day feeling a little, well, dusty? Well, that’s exactly what every IPA tastes like. Let’s not encourage them.
Niche reservation systems at overhyped restaurants
“So the way it works is you have to put your name down in an online ballot to get a place in the queue which you stand in for forty minutes to put your name down on this clipboard with a bored girl in flares and a much older boyfriend, and then we’ll text you two hours later and tell you whether or not you can have a table at 10.30pm by the coat rack on an upturned packing crate. But the cacio e pepe is TO DIE FOR, and you can always have sixteen really expensive negronis while you wait, so…”
Equally ghastly: Small plates; square plates; black plates; glass plates; slate plates; asking for “sulphite-free wine”; Holding Knife Like Pen; NutriBullets; napkin rings; electric pepper grinders (unless you have arthritis, at which point, grind on); wine flights; advertising things that are inherently gluten-free as gluten-free; “Eats”; “Resto”; “Eatery”; “Vino”; really tall pint glasses; saying “dessert”; describing food as “Proustian”; splitting the bill with an app; that place in Soho that just serves crisps.