I originally wrote this article on the trends for 2010 around the New Year, but decided to delay its release as it seemed that everyone was writing a similar piece at that time and I thought that it would have more relevance a few months into the year.
One of the few positive aspects of the recent economic climate is that we, as consumers, have become far more discerning and demanding. We have become more cautious about spending money, but when we do indulge, we want to maximise our spending power. Consequently, those who provide us with these goods and services will have to adapt to satisfy our changing needs and demands, and 2010 will hopefully be the year of wanting, and achieving, exactly what we want and doing so with value for money.
In London’s bar and restaurant scene, 2009 was, unquestionably, the year of the pop-up. The popular Double Club in Clerkenwell, the Bombay Sapphire Dusk Bar at Somerset House and Pierre Koffman’s rooftop restaurant at Selfridge’s to name a few. This trend is set to continue well into 2010, with Sketch running a pop-up cafe as part of the GSK Contemporary exhibition at the Royal Academy until the end of January.
Restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas has also recently announced a series of pop up nights in March at her Putney restaurant with celebrated chefs from The Square, Chez Bruce and Le Café Anglais, among others, to raise money for Action Against Hunger’s campaign for Haiti. The pop-up craze has also made its way to hotels, with Visit London and the Radisson Edwardian launching the world’s smallest pop-up hotel at various sites across London in March, consisting of a caravan doubling up as a mini boutique hotel.
Another big trend for 2009 was the ‘underground restaurant’, with aspirational chefs opening up their homes to cook for strangers. The success of The Loft by Nuno Mendes in Dalston and the current praise for guerrilla restaurants such as Sheen Suppers means that the novelty factor might not simmer out for a while yet.
On a food note, small sharing plates and ‘international tapas’ was a big theme in 2009 and this looks set to continue with the latest triumph, Polpo, a Venetian bacaro in Soho, having already found a site for its second venue.
Nostalgic, hearty and British food is lined up for a welcome return during 2010. Dean Street Townhouse and Hix Soho have already established this food scene, and it looks set to continue with the re-opening of the Savoy Grill and Heston Blumenthal’s first foray into the London restaurant scene at the Mandarin Oriental later this year. St John and Hawksmoor both have plans to roll out their brands to other sites in the West End during the year as well.
The big-hitters are certainly getting ready to invade London during 2010 – Along with Heston, Daniel Boulud, one of the most coveted chefs in the US, is set to open a restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental with his Bar Boulud, which is already a big success across the pond.
The Zetter hotel in Clerkenwell will welcome Bruno Loubet back to London and into the kitchen, Michel Roux Junior will open ‘Roux at Parliament Square’, Gordon Ramsay Holdings will re-launch Petrus, and Pierre Koffman is rumoured to be looking for a venue for another venture following the success of his pop-up restaurant. Looks like we’ll all be moving up a weight category in 2010.
Something completely different that might take its place on the London dining scene this year is the emergence of the entertainment-focused restaurant. Proud Cabaret opened in the City in late 2009 and in January 2010, Circus opened in Covent Garden, with striking interiors designed by Tom Dixon.
Bring Your Own
A current, widely discussed, hot restaurant topic is the ability, or otherwise, to bring your own alcohol to a restaurant and the subsequent corkage fee. Restaurants are, as a rule, hesitant to implement this trend, but with consumers having so much influence on a restaurant’s success, people power might succeed in 2010.
Along with the continuation of the pop-up scenario, another big focus this year will be on the hotel bar scene. The Connaught hotel elevated the hotel bar to new heights throughout 2009, but with the emergence of many new luxury hotels due in 2010, including The Savoy, the Four Seasons on Park Lane, the W Hotel and the Dorchester Collection’s 45 park Lane, we could be in for a year of very stiff martinis.
Towards the end of the Summer of 2009, the re-launched Dorchester Spa in the Dorchester Hotel introduced the ethos of ‘a little of what you love is good for you’ with the Spatisserie concept – a place to have afternoon tea and champagne after a visit to the hotel’s spa or gym. 2010 may see this trend continuing with fitness centres embracing the concept of combining pleasures and offering a more social focus to fitness.
For European travel, the regular hotspots are likely to remain popular this year, including Ibiza, the Cote d’Azur and Mykonos, with the emergence of Croatia and Montenegro in the South East. On an international basis, Brazil remains a hot destination, with South Africa becoming a feature to coincide with the World Cup.
The focus is likely to be on bespoke holidays, specifically tailored to the individual, and ensuring value for money, which could see luxury destinations offering their version of all-inclusive, and eco-luxury is certain to regain prominence. New hotels are expected to focus on a ‘country house chic’ vibe, in contrast to the dominance of minimalism in recent years.
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