Bad news if you like to save money on booze when eating out – BYO is a dying trend.
The much-beloved habit of taking your own wine or beer to a restaurant is being welcomed in fewer places.
It’s one of the standout trends noted by the expert restaurant review team behind this year’s delicious100 list of the best eateries in each state.
National Restaurant Editor Erina Starkey has reviewed hundreds of venues for the 2022 list, the top 50 of which will be revealed this weekend. Here she reveals what’s hot – and what’s not – on the menu for 2022.
Early bird bookings
As restaurants move towards a reservation-only model, they’ve opened up a new timeslot and we think your grandma’s going to love it. It’s official, the 5:30pm booking is the new 7:30pm. Australians are going out for dinner earlier than ever before, leaving plenty of time for a good night’s rest.
Snacking all night
Diners across the country are ditching the long, drawn out dinner for an entire meal of snacks. Small plates mean you can try more of the menu, with the option to add on dishes depending on how the night goes.
Sharpen your chopsticks, there’s a new way to enjoy your favourite sushi dishes. Omakase is the Japanese tradition of leaving it up to the chef. Strap in for a chef’s choice menu of around 20 courses, delivered piece-by-piece over a three hour dining experience.
Whether it’s because our other half is at home with symptoms or because we’re just fabulously solo, more of us want to go it alone when eating out. Restaurants are catering to our single status with snack plates portioned for one, as well as more bar and counter seating with views to the kitchen for entertainment. Just please don’t ask us “will you be dining alone this evening?”
A classic of country Chinese restaurants everywhere. Now the deep-fried triangles along with its neon pink sweet and sour sauce is making the leap from yum cha cart to restaurant table. Chefs are upgrading the tasty toasts with add-ons like yuzu aioli and prawn bisque dipping sauce.
The martini is back to being the (other) toast of the town. This time around, it’s about more than just what’s in the glass. Restaurants are now serving them on engraved silver trays while others have their own dedicated martini trolley so they can be shaken and stirred at the table.
Forget the buckwheat blinis, the new way to enjoy caviar is as a “bump” on the back of your fist followed by an ice-cold shot of vodka. By placing the caviar on your hand, you’re warming it up to the ideal eating temperature.
We definitely overdid it – the spritz cocktail has finally fizzled out. Restaurants and bars are trading up the bright orange aperitif for more sophisticated sippers like the martini and negroni.
Whether it’s called a degustation or a tasting menu, diners do not want their dinner dictated to them anymore. With the current cost of living crisis, diners are looking for more flexibility in the menu and less financial commitment upfront.
Gone are the days when you could just head to the CBD and simply walk in to a restaurant of your choice. Ha ha no. Now the only way in is through the online reservations system, with tables snapped up weeks, sometimes months, in advance.
As much as we love to bring-our-own, fewer and fewer restaurants are allowing it. Many hospitality venues rely on revenue from the wine list, which is why they are bulking up their own bottles and banning the BYO.
Watch out for the top 50 restaurants in your state this weekend. Numbers 100-50 were released last week. Head to delicious.com.au for more information.