It is the tradition at Eater to end the year with a survey of friends, contributors, rovers of the industry, critics, and professional eaters. This year, the group were asked eight questions, spanning meal of the year to biggest dining grievance. Their answers will appear throughout this week. Responses are related in no particular order; cut and pasted below. Restaurant standbys and best newcomers; 2018 in a word and a city in neighbourhoods; restaurant surprises and dining grievances; the best meals and dishes: they’ve all been covered. Now, it’s time to look to the future: what will define London’s restaurant landscape in 2019?
Adam Coghlan, Editor, Eater London: The holy communion of hospitality — bread and wine. Bakeries and wine bars will continue to provide the most reliable and secure source of business for restaurateurs with the dexterity to pivot.
Borough might be the best neighbourhood of 2019.
James Hansen, Assistant Editor, Eater London: A proper reckoning for those guilty of misconduct in their restaurants. Please.
As many sequels and adjuncts as new openings, if not more — expect more of the capital’s greatest to follow the diversify-and-conquer model adopted by the likes of René Redzepi and Christian Puglisi in Copenhagen.
London will follow New York — look, temporally, okay — and pivot to classical French.
Street food’s descent off-street into a corporate duopoly will continue, its overlords sitting on the edges of pavements and in boxes at Old Trafford.
Got to echo my editor: Borough is already looking like a strong neighbourhood.
More openings shunning small-plates and sharing, or at least pretending to.
One high-profile resignation and/or departure from the national critics.
Supermarkets will continue to appropriate foods in ready meals, and people will continue to ask why no-one can cook pasta anymore despite the question being not in question.
Anna Sulan Masing, food writer and Eater London contributor: People smiling. Normal is the new face of cool - elitest snotty service out, well crafted honest high street restaurants in, wine chat being relaxed.
Jonathan Nunn, food writer and Eater London contributor: More chain imports from the US and Asia, and hopefully even more exciting and niche than the ones we’ve had this year.
London will have its Batali moment.
The new Chinatown development will please no one.
Clove Club or Hedone will get their second star, but only one of them.
Everyone who opened second restaurants in 2018 will ill-advisedly open thirds and fourths in 2019.
90 percent of new London restaurants won’t be worth the hype but will be forensically covered them anyway.
Most of the best food in London will continue to be cooked in Zones 3-6.
Giles Coren will refer to Eater writers as “privileged student white boys.”
More street food markets will close than be opened.
Referring to Bob Granleese as #accidentalhypebeast will get funnier, then stop being funny, then become really funny again.
St Leonard’s will obtain a first Michelin star.
Jackson Boxer will obtain a second Belstaff jacket.
Sejal Sukhadwala, food writer and Eater London contributor: Silicon Valley tech billionaires will continue investing in increasingly bizarre meat substitutes, so by the end of the year expect a talking vegan burger made from mushroom skin. And Brexit… so who knows — tinned food pop-ups, tea and toast tasting menus, potatoes and jam?
Emma Hughes, freelance food writer and Eater London contributor: French food. I know I said it last year, but I really feel this is IT.
George Reynolds, food writer and Eater London contributor: More big-name big-money foreign imports, as the central London crowd prove resilient to any amount of Brexit uncertainty. More chefs and restaurateurs upping sticks and moving out of London in search of halfway manageable rents and a liveable work-life balance. More vegan stuff on menus despite the genuinely mediocre execution of 99 percent of restaurant vegan dishes. More 100 percent vegan places, too. More Brexit-related malaise hitting wine lists in particular, driving prices up and/or encouraging sommeliers to look beyond the Old World. This may not be a bad thing. More comfort, more carbs, more conservative safety-first places as investors grow even more leery about making a return. More questionable PR-hungry “concept” joints — inevitably. Fewer burgers, maybe — at last.
Shekha Vyas, food writer and Eater London contributor: Despite all the uncertainty with politics and growing operating costs, I think London will remain a bubble with many more newcomers, mainly from Asia and America. International operators will certainly ride the wave that Halal Guys, Taco Bell and Jolibee have crested this year. I think there will also be an increase in cuisines that central London is short in, such as Central Asian and Desi Chinese food.
Helen Graves, food writer at Food Stories and Eater London contributor: More closures; more huge food halls; more veggie grilling; more four-hour lunches for me.
MiMi Aye, food writer, cookbook author, and Eater London contributor: Mock meat restaurants for curious carnivores, as well as those vegans and vegetarians who still really like the taste of meat. And MSG goes mainstream! (I wish)
Zeren Wilson, food writer at Bitten and Written and Eater London contributor: Tottenham to continue its renaissance, beginning with the opening from the owners of Bistrotheque in the old fire station.
Daisy Meager, food writer and Eater London contributor: More chain roll-outs, more restaurant ‘markets’ but hopefully classics thriving and more exciting neighbourhood joints.
Angela Hui, food writer and Eater London contributor: Less booze, less plastic, less meat.
Leila Latif, Eater London contributor: “Tommy Robinson uncovered as head of Brewdog and GBK’s marketing departments.”