Syrian food tipped as top restaurant trend for 2017

Syrian food, such as the pastries produced by refugee Nour Taleb in Haddington, is set to soar in popularity this year, according to Restaurant Magazine.
Syrian food, such as the pastries produced by refugee Nour Taleb in Haddington, is set to soar in popularity this year, according to Restaurant Magazine.
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Syrian food and British charcuterie - including Scottish dried venison products - are among the global food trends tipped for 2017.

Experts said that interest in Syrian culture following the war and refugee crisis had heightened interest in dishes such as kibbeh, a croquette filled with minced lamb or beef. Meanwhile, Portugese food, Hawaiian raw fish and dumplings - from Japanese to Taiwanese - are also set to be on the menus of the most trendy restaurants in the UK.

The report, from Restaurant Magazine, added that a rise in the price of usually cheaper meats from Europe had meant that people were increasingly turning to previously more expensive British air dried meats as an alternative.

Products such as smoked venison from the award-winning Great Glen charcuterie in Perthshire were singled out as items which had enjoyed a rise in popularity in the wake of the Brexit vote, which saw the value of the pound plummet.

Restaurant Magazine editor Stefan Chomka said he expected Syrian food to rise in popularity in Scotland, which has taken in more than 1,200 refugees under the government’s Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme, set up in 2014.

He said: “While some of these trends may stay more focused around London, others, such as the growing popularity of Syrian food, we will see in areas where there are pockets of refugees and immigrants coming into the area.”

The magazine said that a cook book launched by a food blogger to highlight Syrian cuisine and raise funds for refugees fleeing the civil war, had raised it into the spotlight. The country’s food is akin to that of neighbouring Lebanon, with falafel, tabbouleh and dishes including lemon, garlic and chickpeas popular among Syrians.

Last month, Syrian chef Imad Alarnab ran a successful pop-up restaurant in London and said he hoped to rebuild his restaurant business in the UK.

Meanwhile, north of the border, The Scotsman revealed last year that pastries made by Syrian baker Nour Taleb, a refugee from Albab, were a hit when they went on sale in The Loft Cafe and Bakery in Haddington, East Lothian. The pastries, which Taleb previously made in his family-run bakery in Syria, were selling out at a rate of almost 600 a day.

Mr Chomka added that Scottish venison and beef charcuterie is set to cash in on the trend for British products.

He said: “There is the Great Glen Charcuterie and many others in Scotland, which are known for their venison and beef. You will definitely see the market for this growing in Scotland.”

Danish pastry shops selling delicacies such as “rababerhorn” - a rhubarb crescent-shaped pastry - and “lodebolle”, a marshmallow puff covered in chocolate and rolled in hazelnuts, are also likely to grow in popularity in the coming twelve months, Restaurant said.

Meanwhile, Hawaiian dish “poke”, made from raw fish and akin to Peruvian ceviche, is also set for a year of popularity in the UK, after a number of restaurants have been launched in London dedicated to the meal.