Heading up The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant and Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton Tower, executive chef Simon Young has his finger firmly on London’s culinary pulse. Here, he gives his expert opinion on what taste sensations are making waves across the British capital with his guide to London food trends.
How often do you change your menus?
“We create all of our menus in-house, to allow for constant seasonal updates to our offerings. For example, this autumn we will be adding roasted red-legged partridge to the menu to coincide with the start of game season.”
Where do you seek inspiration when creating new dishes?
“I eat out often to keep up with emerging food trends and to discover exciting flavour pairings that give me inspiration for The Rib Room. I regularly read hospitality magazines and am also a member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts where I network with other chefs. Finally, I always encourage my brilliant team to contribute ideas or relevant concepts that they have tried or seen recently to diversify the creative ideas in the kitchen.”
Where do you like to source your produce in London?
“We buy most of our fruit and vegetables from two excellent suppliers who only work with producers in the home counties—it’s a fact that the best strawberries in the world are from Kent. What’s more, most of our fish comes from the south coast, nearby. I am also currently working with a new beef supplier from Sussex, who cross-breeds Angus cows with a Japanese breed that produces wagyu.”
What ingredients are diners seeing a lot of in London restaurants this year?
“Isle of Wight tomatoes are a big thing at the moment. They are characterised by lovely full flavours and come in different shapes and sizes. The use of cheaper cuts of fish like pollock has become trendy.”
Do you think the way diners like to eat out in London has changed?
“I think people are looking for a more casual and experiential dining experience in London today, more than ever before.”
Do you find food trends in London tend be fleeting or do some endure?
“I think some concepts have legs and others don’t. For example, vegan food is definitely shifting the way that people consume—there are many restaurants now specialising in it, which suggests that it’s going to stay popular. On the other hand, some restaurants are having a tough time in London, with some new concepts not gaining momentum and closing their doors after only six months.”
Are there any frivolous food trends you’d be glad to see the back of?
“Blue cheese in desserts!”
Do you have any upcoming predictions on what will be big on the London food scene later this year?
“Five-star hotels making their restaurants more casual and accessible to diners. Farm to table-style restaurants, where provenance is key, will become more popular. Portuguese cuisine and Japanese izakaya-style dining are on the up, and set to be a big London food trend.”
Where do you like to dine out in London?
“Obviously I love The Rib Room and dine there a lot, but my favourite restaurant at the moment is Phil Howard’s new Chelsea restaurant, Elystan Street.”
Which hot new restaurant openings are on your radar?
“I am going to Core by Clare Smyth soon. Clare was previously head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s eponymous three Michelin star restaurant. I am very excited about my visit as her restaurant is getting great reviews. I also hear that Claridge’s is bringing a new chef and concept in so watch that space…”
Explore The Rib Room Bar & Restaurant and Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton Tower.