For our latest in-depth menuwatching report, we delve into the world of Casual and Fine Casual dining, charting its adaptations during the ongoing COVID pandemic and looking ahead at what we can expect from the industry for 2021.
We all want to eat what we want and when we want, we don't want to be regulated by time, if we want lunch for breakfast then that is when we want it served. Menus need to offer a variety of dishes, suiting all diets from full-on meat eating to plant-based, we may not be vegan, but we want that choice. Flexibility is key, during the COVID-19 pandemic we want to eat at our favourite places, be that through collecting our takeaway or having it delivered, even nationally.
Casual is the channel of fun foods, bright colours, and mix-ups of different dishes. Even mash is played with, flavoured and loaded in this channel. Toasties are overfilled, charcuterie is home or locally made and may even be fish or veggie. Don't be fooled though, these are the best locally sourced, named breed ingredients. All with a story told on the menu, the chef is passionate about what they are serving and want to tell you all about this.
With named breeds from known farms, meat is all important on these menus. Reared ethically, even sausages and burgers are special. Don't limit your dish to one protein, try surf and turf or double proteins for added flavour and texture. These ethical chefs aren't just serving the 'best' bits, they are utilising the whole animal and really showcasing offal and cuts that would usually be thrown away. You will also find game and alternative meats local to you, on these menus. We are talking kangaroo in Australia or antelope in South Africa.