menuwatching Report - Fine Dining 2023

We've been tracking menus across Fine Dining restaurants for our latest menuwatching report, a channel defined by Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as others serving great food with a premium experience.

With world famous Michelin-starred restaurants like Noma due to close in 2024, and rising living costs making big blowout meals a luxury for many – the traditional Fine Dining model is under scrutiny.

While there will always be a place for treat meals and tasting menus, the channel is evolving. For instance, sustainability and green credentials are no longer 'nice to have', but essential. Meanwhile experiential dining is making waves, and pop ups, supper clubs and collaborations abound. But that's just the tip of the iceberg… Here are a few key takeouts from this year's report.

1. From Humble to Fine – Relatively affordable, humble ingredients such as root vegetables and cheaper, alternative cuts of meat are transformed with flavour layering, and techniques like smoking, fermentation and pickling. For example, the humble beetroot becomes a fine dining feast when it's a smoked Pablo beetroot, glazed in beetroot juice and finished with fermented rhubarb and pickled beetroots on top for the ultimate 'flavour on flavour'.

2. Positively Green – When it comes to sustainability, it's no longer enough to simply reduce kitchen waste, or buy local… Chefs are going 'next level' to proactively improve the world around them. Some adopt closed-loop systems where nothing(!) is wasted. Others champion ancient grains such as Teff and Einkorn on menus, which are more robust in the face of climate change. And it's time to get more creative with previously unloved ingredients… Think sauerkraut made from cauliflower stems, or pickled Japanese knotweed.

3. Play with Flavour – Fine Dining paves the way when it comes to rethinking the status quo, and the boundaries between flavours like sweet, sour and savoury continue to blur. For instance, inspired by umeboshi (Japanese pickled plums), all manner of fruits are pickled and used in unexpected pairings. Meanwhile flavourful miso, koji, black garlic and more, are used in ever more surprising ways – giving new depth to everything from cocktails to caramel.


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