Five food trends that hark back to days gone by

There has been a definite trend in recent years for nostalgic dishes, especially when it comes to desserts. We take a look at some of the most popular themes.

Bubble Food's strawberry bubble crème brulee bubble dessert
Bubble Food's strawberry bubble crème brulee bubble dessert

Retro desserts

Often these are reworked with a modern twist - think some of Heston Blumenthal’s crazy creations. School dinner favourites such as trifle and jam roly poly pudding have had somewhat of a resurgence in recent times, with caterers getting in on the action.

Bubble Food, for example, offers a range of ‘old school’ puddings, including a Yorkshire rhubarb and gingerbread trifle, peach melba sundae, with raspberries, peach jelly, vanilla ice cream and an almond sugar tuile, and its Bubbles dessert - a crème brulée bubble, with strawberry bubblegum bubbles.

American diners

American-style 50s diners have popped up all over the capital during the past few years. The likes of Ed’s Easy Diner and Tinseltown Diner attempting to bring retro fun back into the traditional burger joint. Think black and white lino flooring, red leather booths, and a jukebox in the corner. And it’s not just burgers and hot dogs on the menu, most have an eclectic mix of tasty and creative milkshakes.

Themed afternoon teas

Children’s themed afternoon teas seem to be all the rage at the moment, particularly Alice in Wonderland offerings, with the book celebrating its 150th anniversary last year. St James’ Court hotel in Westminster has a ‘Down the rabbit hole’ afternoon tea, while Sanderson hotel has a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Meanwhile St James’s Hotel & Club recently launched a board-game themed afternoon tea package, in partnership with world famous toy store Hamleys.

Childhood memories

Many of Bubble Food’s multi-sensory dishes are based on experiences that the team has had as children. Dishes such as its fish and chips - micro-fillet of seabass, aerated potato, tartare on edible newspaper with salt & vinegar vapour eaten to the sounds of Brighton pier - was inspired by childhood trips to the seaside, for example.

Samantha Welstead-Wood, the business development manager at Bubble, said: "We are trying to create a more individual and emotional experience for guests at a subconscious level since we’ve noticed that more and more guests these days are wanting dishes to be special to them and have a greater personal meaning. Smells are also very closely linked with memory in the brain and so are particularly powerful."

Dishes of yesteryear

Harbour & Jones Events has also been noticing traditional dishes of yesteryear appearing on menus across London. Emily Deacock, sales and marketing executive, said: "Instead of complex and contemporary fusion dishes, people are craving unpretentious childhood favourites. The prawn cocktail has made a marked return this year, as has chicken kiev and even trifle."

Harbour & Jones Events has included some of these types of dishes on its 2016 menus, but adding a gourmet twist. "Coconut rice pudding with roasted pineapple, mango gel and passion fruit foam; beer battered monkfish cheeks with triple cooked chips and curried mayonnaise; and black forest gateaux with chocolate espuma and dried raspberries, for example," added Deacock.

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