I have always loved street food. But will the shifting delights ever end – and can pubs ever keep up with the constantly changing market?
Last week on a boozy night out – taking in quite a few pubs, of course – my wife turned to me with some standard late night post-pub sustenance: a doner kebab. At least that's what I thought it was, but I was joyously mistaken: it was a vegan doner substitute.
It was absolutely delicious, and a wonderful example of the so-called 'dirty vegan' trend. But the excitement at the flavour of this 'doner' was bittersweet, as it was a stark reminder of the poverty of food options in the pubs we had just visited.
As an 'elder Millennial' – to borrow comedian Iliza Shlesinger's phrase – I have noticed that it is very hard to keep up with food trends unless you are truly committed to reading all the blogs, social media accounts and middle pages of newspapers. There is too much food content - and too little time to take it all in.
And the reality is what publican has time to sit down and find out what the latest 'viral' food craze is or what truck has a long line at a street food market in east London? And would it even be in their interest to do so?
But the value of taking at least some time to see what is making people excited could really benefit pubs, I believe.
Gone are the days when people will simply order a bowl of cheesy chips after a few pints. A simple evening snack menu comprising some funky food items is fairly straightforward to put together – and would result in some great profit margins. The truth is people will pay decent money to be surprised by food nowadays – regardless of its 'premium' nature.
So here's an invite to pubs – get the vegan doners, or some thing like their equivalent, on the menu. Get the eyebrows raised by your punters. Who wouldn't want to go into a pub and be genuinely surprised at the food on offer, for it to be something so unexpected you want to share it on social media?
Don't get me wrong, I love fish and chips or a roast. But every so often, it would be nice to see a dish that is never on a pub menu. Hey, why not?