Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Retro Foods Which Haven't Been Revived Yet

Chefs-taurateur-prenuers…. Fagged off with fried chicken? Bored of burgers? Had enough hot-dogs? Scratching around racking your brains trying to dream up London's next ironic food sensation? Well worry not, as I've been sniffing around for some as-yet untapped retro food trends to keep you busy til summer at least.

So get on the phone to your graphic designer, quick, and have them knock up the logo, then book your slot in your nearest hipster pub.

Thank me later….

What with Poland supposedly being our first language now, I'm utterly astounded that Polish food isn't featuring in pop-ups all over town. The only Polish restaurant I can think of is Daquise in S Ken, and even that's supposedly not what it was. Bigos stew, golabki, pierogi all fabulous and ripe to be sent up into hipster heaven. 'Riling The Daily Mail' is surely a decent enough reason to do it as it is.
Possible names: 'Kasia in the attic', 'Got to Kotlet you into my life'

70s Suburban Soiree
This one's all about the style & decor. Floaty dresses, man-made fibre suits, moustaches, fantasy romantic swan paintings, orange and brown decor, veneered rosewood, stainless steel multi bowl servers with various kinds of nuts, the complete works of Shakespeare on the bookshelf (never to be read of course). Babycham probably. Apparently there was an Abigail's Party private member's bar in Soho in the 90s, but it was never like this. 
Editor's note: Actually, just googled it and it looks a bit like one of @DowneyJD's recent creations, so maybe I'm a bit late to the party there.
Possible name: Abigail's Party

Pot noodle
The student super snack whose ad agency premeditated 'dirty' as a positive adjective waaaay before London's burger fans. Someone could fashion authentic style plastic beakers, complete with outrageous flavours and little sachets of sauce for the really daring. You'd get them at the table then have to pour on your own boiling water.
Possible names: 'Pot Luck' or 'So wrong, yet so right'

Baked beans on toast

Originally an idea suggested by Damian Hirst in the 90s for Quo Vadis, but never done. Everyone loves baked beans. Serving suggestion: Ironic mini 'tins' with Heinz style branding, and playful opened 'lids'. 
Suggested dishes, cheesy beans, hot spicy beans. 
Possible names: 'Bean a while' ' Beanz'.

Acid Drops

A bit Heston I know, but a sweetshop style pop-up dedicated to the sweets and desserts of the yesteryear. The 'proprietor' would be a bloke in his fifties who wears a brown shopkeeper's coat. Only two people would be in at a time.
Dishes: Syrup sponge, spotted dick, gobstoppers, cola cubes, all that.
Drinks: R White's Lemonade, Tizer based cocktails. 
Possible names: 'Wham Bar' 'E102' etc


Kebabs, yeah we've had 'Kebab Kitchen' but that was a go at the fancy shish and kofte type stuff that Mare Street and that place in South London has been doing absolutely brilliantly for years. No, we need someone to ironically do the doner. 
Big fat elephant's leg processed style, but cunningly made with locally sourced hand-reared milk-fed lamb and served on artisan pitta. Two sauces, garlic & chilli, to be eaten together obviously, and a lump of red cabbage top by a couple of massive green chillies.
Possible names: Endless. 'And Doner-come back', 'In bed with my doner' etc etc.

Italian trat

Everyone knows my love of corny old time Italians, but what about a pop-up defining all this into one gingham table-clothed wicker chianti bottle candlesticked, tricolore salad and veal escalope big pepper mill fest? I'm thinking 'An Evening at Rao's' meets 'Lady and the tramp' spaghetti scene. 
Possible names : 'Black pepper' 'Giorgio Giorgini'

Old time colonial Anglo-Indian. 
Yes I KNOW Dishoom is sort of having a crack, but no-one comes close to that right blend of ludicrous uptight Victorian-ness and denture-proof textures. 
Delicious mild creamy fruity curries with almonds, Kedgeree, mulligatawny, pineapple embassy pudding all served in a kind of tongue in cheek Kipling style. With pith hats, campaign furniture and mosquito nets.
Possible names: 'Boy scout breakfast', 'Calcutta Cutlets' .

The Middlesborough take on a breaded chicken cutlet with melted cheese and béchamel. Surprisingly refined for an after-hours post booze treat in a North-Eastern town, and tastes amazing.
The pop-up would be outside in winter, and women must go dressed in bare legs and mini skirts, blokes in ironed pastel coloured shirts, untucked.
Possible names: 'Tees me'


  1. Birdseye Steakhouse Grills, served in the back of a transit. "Hope it's chips, it's chips..."

  2. YES! Totally agree with parmo. Need to get a parmo stall set up asap.

  3. hi, just come on to your blog today. interesting post. i am all for heritage foods coming back. check out pics of the heritage baked beans in flurys calcutta, Kalyan

  4. Early 80s hotels. Someone really should be doing an ironic pop-up that has Orange Juice as a starter. ALWAYS served on a plate with an ornate doily.



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