Logo name authorBy Mark Keane

We look into our crystal ball to predict the next big trends for 2016. Be one step ahead of your friends next year with the following ideas. 

1. The continued rise of doughnuts

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The world has been plagued with a lot of terrible doughnuts for such a long time. The tide is finally beginning to turn with the help of the Dublin Doughnut Co. No longer do we have to put up with dry, heavy, bland, sad looking doughnuts covered in sprinkles or garish pink frosting.

Instead we can look forward to a utopia of lemon curd and mascarpone filled doughnuts, crème brulee flavour, chocolate malt, and spiced caramel. Dublin Doughnut Co has lit the fuse for the next new pastry craze, it’s inevitable that other food businesses will take note and try jump on the bandwagon.

2. Irish craft beer

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Every year craft beer continues on its trajectory to be an unstoppable behemoth. It still only accounts for 1.2% of total Irish beer production, but is expected to rise to 3.3% over the next two years. For our American compatriots, it accounts for 10% of the total market. Numbers aside, it will remain a trend for the upcoming years as brewers develop their skills, invest in more equipment, and look to play around with more styles of beer.

What should you expect to see from your favourite breweries in 2016? A lot more barrel aging of their beers will take place. Stouts and porters will be thrown into whiskey barrels, think of Jameson and Teeling barrels, and the more adventurous types will add coffee beans into the mix too. For those who don’t like India Pale Ales, they won’t be going away any time soon.

Inspiration will come from the famous Belgian Trappist breweries. We will see Irish takes on the classic Belgian styles of saisons, dubbels, tripels, and quadruples.

3. Healthy Eating

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Although people are munching away on doughnuts and washing them down with craft beer, we are beginning to see a greater demand for healthy flavourful food. Cocu in Baggot Street has their menu nutritionally assessed and calorie counted by a dietician. From looking at their Instagram it would be hard to argue that their healthy dishes don’t look delicious. Other places like The Lo-cal Kitchen, Chopped, Blazing Salads, Staple Foods, Govindas are all making healthy tasty meals too. We are seeing a lot more sugar free, gluten free, wheat free, vegan friendly dishes, made with fresh, natural and local ingredients.

Besides these cafes and restaurants, we’ve also seen the re-emergence of juice bars. Alchemy Juice Co, and Sprout Food Co, are serving cold pressed unpasteurised juices, this technique ensures that the nutrients remain intact. The only down side being that the nutritional content and flavour will degrade after 3 days. This juicy goodness will cost from 4.50 per 250ml at Alchemy, and from 4.95 per 350ml at Sprout Food

Healthy eating is only going to get bigger and bigger, but hopefully we still won’t have to listen to people go on about the benefits of quinoa and kale.

4. Cocktails and mixology

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Could this be the year that the art of mixology, otherwise known as cocktail making, really takes off? Cocktails have been around forever, but the rising artisan tide that lifted the likes of craft beer and handmade chocolates, didn’t have the same effect for the cocktail world.

The Vintage Cocktail Club near Temple Bar, has been making cocktails for a few years now to great acclaim, but we are also seeing the likes of 37 Dawson Street, The Liquor Rooms, Koh, The Meeting House, and The Blind Pig get in on the act.

If the extent of your cocktail drinking knowledge is Cosmopolitans, Sex on the Beach, or Vodka Martinis, then get ready to hold onto your hat. The Meeting House are serving cocktails like lychee and lemongrass sours, and even putting others like an Old Fashioned and El Presidente into oak casks to create exquisitely flavourful drinks. For those with a sweet tooth, Koh have a range of dessert cocktails. Mixologists are beginning to make their own sugar and fruit syrups, knowing it greatly helps in creating tasty and unique cocktails.

Will people start putting down that craft beer or glass of wine to go grab a fancy cocktail, only time will tell?

5. Ramen’s and bone broths

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David Chang, owner of Momofuku noodle bar, and ramen pioneer, announced last January that ramen is dead. Why is it in a list of future trends then you might ask? His concern is more with the lack of ramen innovation, that every place is serving the same old tonkotsu ramen. This might be more of an issue for those living in America, where there is of course plenty of ramen bars. However, that is not the case here. There are not many ramen bars or bone broths in Ireland, but Bread and Bones on Millenium Walkway are doing things right with their roasted belly in 16 hour pork bone broth.

Maybe Chang has gotten ahead of himself, as only recently a nine seater ramen shop in Tokyo was the first of its kind to get a Michelin star. With their ramen dishes costing from seven to ten dollars, you won’t find Michelin food anywhere cheaper.

6. Next big cuisine

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We’ve seen Irish people fall in and out of love with different cuisines over the years. Asian food is so hot right now, but what will be the next big cuisine in 2016? It’s more than likely going to come down to Pervuvian versus Spanish/Portuguese food.

For those unfamiliar with Peruvian food, it consists of ceviche, which is raw fish cured in a citrus-based marinade known as Tigers Milk, lamb with achiote paste, black carob pound cakes, and of course quinoa is used a lot. The London restaurant, Ceviche, was the first Peruvian restaurant to win a Michelin star there. While the 4th Best Restaurant in the World is “Central” from Lima according to the prestigious San Pellegrino awards.

Authentic Spanish and Portuguese food is more than just dry paella, prawns slathered in chilli and garlic, and bland huevos patatas. Jp McMahon of Aniar fame, is doing great things with Cava Bodega in Galway, but there isn’t a tonne of interesting restaurants besides there. Looking across the waters, we can see more success for this cuisine, with Barrafina getting a Michelin star last year. While Nuno Mendes has put Portuguese food on the map with his restaurants Viajante and Chiltern Firehouse, with both restaurants having won a Michelin star.

Both cuisines sound amazing, but the safe money is on people talking about Portuguese food in 2016.

7. Flexitarian diet

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Every year a new super diet pops up endorsed by some celebrities who swear by it for weight loss. You may love Harry Styles, but following the rules of the Bulletproof diet, which is adding butter to your morning coffee and finding medium chain triglycerides oil for it, may be too much for you.

If you watched the recent Steve Jobs film and were hoping to learn how to be a Fruitarian, your dreams were also dashed. Have you had to end friendships after their incessant preaching about the paleolithic, raw food, 5:2 diets? Well get ready to hear about the Flexitarian diet from your health conscious friends.

Luckily this diet doesn’t sound particularly complicated, and takes into account the fact that pure vegetarianism can be extremely boring for a lot of people. It is basically flexible vegetarianism, although your vegetarian friends would no doubt label it as vegetarianism with cheating.

No longer do you have to brave bad vegetarian dishes at restaurants, grab that steak instead, be flexible. Why should you follow this diet, and why is it likely to be the next big thing? Simply put, cutting down on meat will save you money, vegetarian meals are lower in calories, it’s better for the environment and it’s not restrictive like every other diet. What’s not to like?

8. Strange Desserts

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We’ve all rolled our eyes when Heston Blumenthal has concocted some weird combination of ingredients that seemingly make no sense to mix. Unfortunately we may see a rise of that in the pastry and dessert world. There will be a lot of terrible food combinations, but every once in a while, a dish will rise from the ashes and blow your taste buds away. It will be a combination of ingredients so tasty that you will wonder how it hasn’t been done before.

Mungo Murphy’s from Connemara use seaweed in their chocolate and espresso biscuits. Brooks Headley, the former executive pastry chef at Del Posto in New York, released a book called “Fancy Desserts” that specialises in this type of cooking. His combinations include pea cake with strawberries, and celery with fig. Ice cream and sorbets are a natural place for these sorts of flavour combinations. The adventurous Humphry and Slocombe in San Francisco have these flavours as part of their core range, hibiscus and beet, prosciutto, white miso and pear, and even foie gras. For those who love liquorice flavours, fennel sorbet is going to be right up your alley.

One of Nuno Mendes restaurants, Taberna, serves dessert dishes like steamed egg yolk, pork fat and port caramel. His former restaurant Viajante, serving the “classic” combination of cauliflower, sponge and butterscotch. Closer to home, Forest Avenue is using squash ice cream and parsnip cake on their dessert menu. As you can see, there are some intriguing pastry dishes being created. Let’s see what the future holds for pastry chefs.

9. Food Waste

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Organic, free-range, local, seasonal, fair trade, pesticide free, non-genetically modified, sustainable, are all issues that we have to face when buying food, albeit they do take a backseat when it comes to cost. The biggest food issue of 2016 will be in regards to food waste and how it can be used to help deal with the growing demand for food banks throughout the country.

With the knowledge that supermarket chain Tescos threw out 55,000 tonnes of food last year, of which 30,000 of that could have actually been eaten, it was only a matter of time before somebody tried to fix this horrendous problem. Public pressure has led to Tesco trialling a scheme to give its unsold food at the end of each day to charities such as homeless hostels and children’s breakfast clubs. Sadly, this is only being piloted in ten of their UK shops. Marks & Spencer are testing it at 45 of their outlets, and aim to cut a fifth of their food waste by 2020.

The other side of the coin is the fact that supermarkets aren’t aware of the expression that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Every year, millions of kilos of Irish fruit and vegetables are thrown away as they are considered unusual or odd looking. The Irish Farmers Association have had some success getting this rule relaxed, as a result you can find “Wonky Veg” in most Tesco Ireland shops.

These wonky veg are just as nutritional and tasty as their more aesthetically pleasing compatriots, and they are sold at a discounted price. It’s hard to believe that there were once calls for straight bananas, let’s hope that people begin to embrace the fact that fruit and vegetables come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

To see how an American Michelin Star chef brought attention to food waste, he hosted a “wastED” pop-up restaurant that used only ingredients that otherwise would have been thrown out. He served dishes of fried skate wing cartilage served with fish-head tartar sauce, and burgers made from carrot and beetroot pulp.

10. McDonalds and Burger King stepping up their game

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We’ve all fallen in love with proper fried chicken from Crackbird, pizzas from Base Wood Fire Pizza, pork ribs from Bison, and burgers from Bunsen. The original fast food kingpin, Ronald McDonald, hasn’t been sitting idly by on his throne though. To try and stop the sharp drop in sales they have jumped on the artisan food bandwagon with the creation of the McMór. It is an artisan Irish burger with a potato flaked bun, Ballymaloe relish, Charleville cheese, kale and cabbage. The burger looks and sounds tasty, however McDonalds did fall foul of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland’s rules on what products could be labelled as “artisan”.

Other ways they are likely to win back customers here is by revamping their quarter pounders, they are making the patties bigger and toasting their buns for longer in America. For those with a sense of adventure, they have a “Create Your Taste” option, allowing you to go wild with your own burger creations. Chicken lovers will be covered too as they will be trialling two new chicken burgers, one made up of a mix of white and dark meat with spices, the other being a buttermilk version.

They will also be serving sweet potato fries, and for those who don’t like standing in line for short periods of time, they will be providing table service. If the public are lovin’ it, these changes are likely to stay, and may be followed by even more interesting ones.

Burger King and Eddie Rockets are not to be outdone though. The former releasing a “Halloween Whopper” that comes with a ghoulish looking black hamburger bun, while also having plans to sell American beer at their UK restaurants. If you ever thought that the only way a Burger King breakfast could be improved was by having a beer with it, then you are in luck as they will be serving alcohol from 10am.

Eddie Rockets have opened up a new bar and restaurant called “Flash Harry’s” in Blackrock. The interior is very stylish as is the outdoor area, you can relax with a beer or cocktail and a game of foosball. New food options include a buttermilk chicken burger, and one made out of 50% beef and 50% bacon.

What does this all mean exactly? Basically, you will find yourself visiting these restaurants a lot more in the upcoming year.


Will we be ten for ten with our predictions? Let us know what you think of them, and what should have made the list.

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