It’s a fun pastime to try and predict what’s coming next to Café menus. We sent our food sleuths out to scope the territory for food trends and here’s what they found.
There will be no stopping plant-based recipes and the plant food movement now that it has scientific data and star power behind it.
A study in the journal Science found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet reduces your carbon footprint more significantly than if you ditched airline travel or bought an electric car.
Add in glamour-couple Beyonce and Jay-Z’s offer of a life-time tickets to their concerts if you sign up to eat more plant-based meals.
That’ll be a Tijuana Bowl (brown rice, chilli beans, lettuce, tomato, carrot, coriander, corn chips, avocado, sunflower seed parmesan, chipotle lime mayo) from Sydney plant-food Café Verd for lunch followed by a deconstructed lemon-mousse tart from Melbourne’s specialty raw-dessert bar Raw Trader.
If you haven’t already said yes to more plant-based recipes on your Café menu, it’s time to do so now.
Sustainability is more than a buzzword. It’s a business management theory that puts people, planet, and profit at the centre of the business and the way of the future. (The idea was coined by English business consultant John Elkington in 1994).
Put more ‘green’ action into your Café and see your Café, your staff and customers thrive. It’s about taking care of business – sustainably.
It’s also something people want to read about. The editors of the new guidebook Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery are on the case, seeking out exemplary organic, sustainable, and ethical restaurants. Restaurants themselves are getting in on the act and showcasing their sustainability creds online. Check out Nomad in Sydney’s Surry Hills.
It’s time that the whole roasted cauliflower moved over to make way for the new ‘It’ vegetable – the humble mushroom.
In a neat twist for Café owners, there’s an increasing number of mushroom growers using spent coffee grounds from their local Café as growing material. The New York Times predicts mushrooms will turn up in teas and desserts and be made into jerky.
What started as an every-day Soviet elixir, the kombucha drink, has morphed into the latest modern-day miracle cure-all (it’s all about gut health), an alternative to soft drinks and a local market worth $200 million.
Vertically stack this popular gut-friendly fermented, probiotic drink in your Café. Pop one of the large-scale manufactured or boutique brewed kombucha drinks in the fridge.
You can even make your own flavoured brew as a special and, like Bondi’s Rosenbaurn & Fuller, use it as an ingredient on the menu. Theirs features a strawberry kombucha ice-block and kombucha muesli.
Animals fed on pasture produce meat with such flavour and tenderness it takes out the blue ribbon whenever it’s put to the taste test. It’s a given that grass-fed beef is an outright winner in taste.
It is also the winner when it comes to nutrient value. High levels of anti-oxidants (beta-carotene, vitamins A and E), healthy fatty acids (omega-3, which is necessary for brain function and only available in a few foods, such as oily fish) and linoleic acid, a powerful, naturally occurring, anti-carcinogen.
Beware the beef that has been conventionally farmed and fed a combination of grain and grass being sold as ‘grass-fed beef’. The health benefits only exists in animals that have only ever eaten grass, so look for the Cattle Council of Australia’s Certified Pasture Fed label.
Last Straw, a Sydney originated waste campaign, which is all about changing the culture around unnecessary plastic straw use, is fast gathering momentum.
Plastics are a huge problem in the environment, ending up in land fill and negatively impacting the ocean’s eco system. One year into the campaign and 13 million straws have been saved from use.
Straws only represent the tip of the iceberg for Café owners. The pressure is on to reduce all non-biodegradable packaging waste, from single serve coffee cups to takeaway food containers and plastic cutlery.
Australia’s Café sandwich game is strong. We’ve proved there’s nothing that can’t be put between two slices of (milk) bread.
From Thai-inspired fillings (the nahm prik nuum with spicy sausage and soft-boiled egg at Sydney’s Boon Café), thick chunks of pork katsu (at Sando Bar, Surry Hills), to shreds of nduja, salami, prosciutto, pecorino, pickled chilli and iceberg lettuce at the Big Dog Deli in Richmond, Melbourne.
The coffee envelope is being well and truly stretched in 2019 – in all directions. At Ona Coffee they’re roasting beans with the end cup in mind so instead of offering cappuccino or latte, the menu reads milk, black and filter.
Cold brew goes up a notch with nitro brew, a cold brew (4°C for 40 hours) charged with high-pressure nitrogen so that is has a velvet-like texture and foam head when served.
In Queensland, Wolff Coffee Roasters are the specialists. Alt milk is growing too: macadamia, coconut, rice, oat, cashew and even hemp milks are lined up alongside the full-cream, lite, and lactose-free dairy milks in some Cafes.
There you have it!
Cafe menus are leaning towards plant-based recipes, kombucha drinks, grass-fed beef and the ever green egg salad sandwich. Mushrooms will feature more and more on menus as well. And sustainability will take over as a management practice when its impact on the bottom line is appreciated more. In the same vein, the use of plastic will reduce as the momentum builds against its use.