Katy Salter | Contributor | 1,028 day ago

2014 In Food: The Good, The Bad, The Absolutely Bloody Weird

The Debrief: From lobster rolls to the Chiltern Firehouse, here's how you ate this year

2014 has been one crazy year for food. On the one hand, we got really into all things healthy like green juice and coconut everything, but on the other… gourmet donuts. It’s a confusing time to be an eater. We’re still nuts for all things Americana, burgers and street food markets, but 2014 also marked the return of swanky, wallet-bothering restaurants like Fera at Claridge’s, Spring at Somerset House, the frankly ridiculous Beast and a little place called Chiltern Firehouse. Here’s our pick of the trends we loved, hated, or just said a big WTF to in 2014…

Trend we loved: Lobster rolls
The Debrief called this one back in January. By late 2014 lobster roll joints were popping up around London faster than we could get our claws into those hot dog buns stuffed with sweet lobster meat. New openings include Smack Lobster, Lobster Kitchen and Fraq’s Lobster Shack…but our favourite is still the one at Hawksmoor.

Trend we’re sick of: Pulled pork
The British love affair with American barbecue shows no sign of cooling off (US BBQ restaurants are now worth a whopping £68m). But there’s now so much pulled pork around, it’s making us feel unwell – especially as the quality ranges wildly from the sublime (Pitt Cue) to the stringy (porky ready meals). We really knew pulled pork had peaked when our mums started making it in their slow cookers.

Trend we don’t know how we lived without: Ramen
Ramen bars have been opening in London over the last few years, but in 2014 it seemed like the city was paved with noodles. Japanese import Ippudo, Kanada-Ya, a second Bone Daddies, and United Ramen were just some of the new ramen joints to open their doors, which we’re all for because it’s made the queues at Tonkotsu and the original Bone Daddies a little shorter. Plus what’s not to love about a piping hot bowl of noodles and rich broth that costs a tenner? It’s our favourite pre-cocktail fuel. If you fancy making yourself a ramen burger then check out this recipe here.

The big opening: Chiltern Firehouse
Once upon a time, in the 1990s, there was a place called The Met Bar…and every A-Lister (Depp, Moss, the Gallaghers) hung out there. In 2014, the ghost of the Met appeared in Marylebone. Yes, chef Nuno Mendes does magical crab doughnuts…but Chiltern Firehouse is the year’s biggest opening because it’s the place to spot Styles, Delevingne, and…yes, Moss, again.

The health food we were all eating: Coconut
We had to compensate for all that pulled pork somehow…and in 2014 it was all about the coconut. Bloggers like Deliciously Ella and the Hemsley sisters helped turn coconut oil and yogurt from obscure health foods into legit ingredients, and restaurants got in on the act: you’ll find coconut yogurt on the menus at Granger & Co, and Marcus Wareing’s Tredwell’s.

The trend no-one saw coming: Breakfast cereal
Two hipster brothers had the evil genius idea of opening a café that just sells cereal. In Shoreditch, naturally. They inadvertently caused more online rage (and got more coverage) than UKIP and ISIS combined. We say, good luck to them…and can we have a bowl of Fruity Pebbles with hazelnut milk, please?

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Follow Katy on Twitter @KSalty

Photograph: Nicolas Polli

Tags: Food Glorious Food, The Rebrief