Mumbai: These food trends rocked the F&B industry in 2018

Updated: Dec 29, 2018, 15:56 IST | Suman Mahfuz Quazi | Mumbai

Have you wondered what trends rocked the F&B scene this year? Well, here's a quick review of 2018's foodcsape featuring weird eats, health freaks, gin and goodbyes

Paneer Pakoda Phulka Taco
Paneer Pakoda Phulka Taco

Weirdly wonderful
Embracing the India's vibrant culinary essence was a trend this year. This translated into weird dishes where western eats got a desi makeover and which the everyday foodie seemed to dig. With tacos, we saw chefs like Dheeraj Verma of Monkey Bar re-imagining the Mexican snack in Rajasthani flavours and creating the paneer pakoda phulka taco.

Goan Cafreal Chicken Burger

Then, The Burger Project, for example, created a whole range of desi versions like Kolhapuri and Goan cafreal. On the other hand, dessert joints experimented with the waffle burrito or waffrito (served at IceKraft) and ice cream macaron, where Asian eatery Yauatcha put a zany twist on the humble ice cream sandwich by replacing biscuits with a macaron.

Flora

Until we meet again
This year forced Mumbai's faithful patrons to say goodbyes and they did so with a heavy heart since it's a tough ask to see haunts you grew up eating in disappear. Living in the past isn't a great idea, so here's us bidding adieu to Paradise, Flora, Shiro, Imbiss (Colaba and Vakola) and Moshe's. We'll wait to see what's next with Zorawar Kalra's R20 and where Hard Rock Cafe will spring up next.

Pop it like it's hot

Pop it like it's hot
This year was eventful for pop-ups, with many focusing on regional cuisine, as was the case with Bombay Vintage's back-to-back Bombay Catholic and Parsi lagan versions that celebrated the city's diverse communities. But the one that stood out was at The Bombay Canteen, where home chef Iti Mishra took us back to the bustling alleys of North Kolkata with authentic Bengali food.

Basavaraj Mallapa and Amruta Kabure

Eat street, Mumbai
We were excited to discover Basavaraj Mallapa and Amruta Kabure, an couple that managed to transcend social barriers through a shared love for food, travel and bikes. The couple floored us with their portable barbecue, Charcoal Grill: Kebabs on Bike, which considerably upped Navi Mumbai's cool-quotient, as also with their tasty skewers featuring masaledar eats like pahadi chicken and Kolhapuri grilled pomfret.

Kitchen essentials

Kitchen essentials
If 2017 was all about kale and quinoa, 2018 gave us a fresh pantry of hip ingredients to obsess about, be it chia or coconut oil. Cauliflower and almond replaced regular flour, and ghee was resurrected in the West with Indian chefs (who only a few years ago were chiding their moms for using it too much) jumping onto the bandwagon. We also heard tittle-tattle about pea milk, yet another bizarre dairy replacement alongside almond and oat milk.

Upma quinoa broccoli
Upma quinoa broccoli

Healthy is happy
Food trends like seasonal produce, fresh catch and regional flavours trickled down to manifest in the form of a clutch of health cafés. Pune's Sante Spa arrived in BKC this July, chef Yashodhan Deshmukh opened Solassa in September in Vile Parle, and banker-turned-fitness professional Sandeep Sachdev of reality show The Biggest Loser fame opened his first health-oriented culinary venture, Easy Human. The trend extended itself to include within its fold home-bakers, such as Deepti Thomas of The Keto Me who awed us with keto-friendly modaks around Ganesh Chaturthi, and eateries like The Pantry launched a keto menu, and much to our surprise, so did the café at NCPA!

Beetroot outabal
Beetroot outabal

The cuisines that killed
When we discovered Rue du Liban in September, a Levantine restaurant, it didn't strike us how big a trend Mediterranean food was. A shawarma trail through Versova later, we realised that Mumbai had fostered a deep connection with the cuisine, popular for being healthy.

This became evident in the sprouting of several eateries, like Shalom in Chembur, Beirut in Versova, and The Central Kitchen in Santa Cruz West. This year also proved to be a good year for Asian cuisine, evident in the plethora of eateries that surfaced across town, be it Nooresha Kably's buzzing Izumi, Zorawar Kalra's recently launched Tygr or lesser-known eateries like Open China in Juhu and Sun and Moon in Worli.

L'etranger
L'etranger

A gin-tastic year
"Drink-wise, gin was a huge trend this year," veteran restaurateur Gauri Devidayal said to us a few weeks ago and the observation couldn't have been more on point. A glance through newly created bar menus this year helps reinstate the postulate, and if 2017 was all about gin and tonics, 2018 took the alcohol to another level with intriguing cocktails such as Santosh Kukreti's smoky affair at Thristy City 127, L'etranger comprising gin, sea salt, in-house kaffir lime tincture and coconut water at Colaba's Miss T, and an entire range of gin-based cocktails curated by the Daily Bar and Kitchen in Bandra earlier this month.

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