It’s been a while, but many people can still remember the ugly origins of bar food, a packet of plain chips and a bowl of peanuts with 23 types of urine on the side.
Drinker’s expectations and bar food offerings have changed a lot since then but what hasn’t changed is that the best bar food is the perfect companion to a drink. It keeps people sustained, so they linger longer and enjoy their favourite drinks a little more.
It’s all about what’s new in today’s competitive food and beverage market, which means to grab the attention of their potential customer and stay ahead of the crowd, bars need to be aware of the latest trends and adapt them in engaging ways.
Here are five top bar food trends will have them coming back for more from a presentation I gave at Club Queensland's Bar Symposium.
1. House madeThis should describe every sauce on the menu. It could be something the chef just whipped up or made to grandma’s recipe. The flavours must echo the latest flavour markers trends including harissa, truffle or caramel. Think curry aioli, finger lime mayo and pine salt. They only sound hard to make but are deceptively simple concoctions.
2. Local produce
It could be a share platter of local cheese, fresh tropical fruit or sliced salami. It’s all about sourcing the flavours of the region and offering them in a simple way that highlights the taste. Think a bucket of locally-sourced prawns served with a lip-smacking, chef-inspired sauce.
3. American style burgers
Burgers are a huge trend which shows little signs of slowing. For a bar, the best burgers are smaller sliders that customers can eat as finger food. Think bacon burgers on brioche buns, a beef burger with peanut chipotle barbeque sauce, or feta and fresh dill on a veggie burger.
4. Pairing food and beverages
Start with an existing bar menu and look for natural companions. Beer combines well with carbs, red meat and heavier food, wine has established pairings and cocktails can be tailored to match dishes. Try a pale ale with brie or fruit, whisky with chocolate or bacon, or a glass of prosecco with that bucket of prawns.
5. Food truck collaboration
Let someone else do the cooking and partner with a local food truck. Build a weekly menu with a different food truck each day and promote it to draw in the crowds.