TOP TRENDS: What’s hot in fine dining for 2019?


Mike Hardman from Alliance delves into the emerging dining trends of 2019 from alcohol-free to small dish dining to the resurgence in classic black and white tableware, don’t miss this year’s vogues.

With 2018 a distant memory and being in the thralls of the new year, we at Alliance Online look at what trends have remained strong during the early stages of 2019 and discuss emerging crazes.

Everyone loves a freebie

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Alcohol-free beverages became huge in 2018 with the industry reporting a 27% increase in sales of alcohol-free beer alone, compared with the previous year. With an overall market increase of over 20.5% from 2017 to 2018 the trend does not look to be slowing down as we enter 2019. New ranges such as “virgin gin” and alcohol-free wine alternatives have also started to feature on drinks menus, especially in gastropubs and fine dining establishments.

The driving force behind this explosion of diversity is twofold: a) the quality of taste has improved massively, making them a palatable choice, particularly for designated drivers and b) an increase in health-conscious individuals opting to reduce or remove alcohol from their diets.

In turn, with an increased demand for alcohol-free drinks to enhance soft drink repertoires, it is essential that upmarket dining venues look to include them. We predict that during 2019 we will see a larger variety of beverages being converted to alcohol-free form, along with more experimental tastes.

The rise of the petit plat

Fine dining is synonymous with small portions, but recently tapas style banqueting has become increasingly popular. The “share” craze that has taken the nation by storm has been fuelled by the growth of establishments such as La Tasca and Tapas Revolution, with chains such as Pesto showing the trend is not limited to just Spanish cuisine.

Naturally, as a result, there is now a legitimate call for fine dining restaurants to consider adding a small dish menu. With meal sharing adding a new social dynamic, it further contributes to the dining experience, creating an atmosphere that leaves a positive impression for customers. Investing in a small dish menu also opens a new market for restaurants, particularly in summer months when larger meals featuring traditionally heavier ingredients are not as sort after. Having a menu designed for smaller sharing dishes an offer a refreshing respite that still maintains a premier visual and flavour.

It doesn’t matter if they’re black or white

In the world of fashion, black never gets old, hence the immortalisation of the little black dress. However, as far as tableware is concerned, white has always been the primary vogue. A plain white plate is the perfect canvas for any chef to create their masterpieces. The neutrality of traditional white crockery gives a clean and polished aesthetic which emanates opulence. But, for 2019, this tried and tested formula is being challenged by a surge in popularity for its counterpart: black tableware.

Whether it is all one colour like Villeroy & Boch’s new Black Shale range or a contrast collection like Churchill’s Studio Print, with a hand-applied edge-band. The disparity between the two colours creates a striking elegance that is perfect for displaying luxury food in a manner which differs from the traditional, but still promotes a classic style.

We envisage this colour scheme enjoying a rise to prominence with boutique and premium eating environments opting to include it within their tableware offering. Naturally whiteware will remain the popular choice and will no doubt be used to compliment any black ranges that are incorporated in the luxury market. But either way, we know that for 2019, black is back.

Mike Hardman is marketing manager at Alliance Online (

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Zoe Monk

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