One of the best things I’ve read these past few days is that the term ‘Gastropub’ will never again be used in The Good Food Guide. The word evokes thick cut , squared ended chips supporting a piece of seared meat – rib-eye’d, Old Spotted or Salt Marshed something for sure and invariably with the name of the former farmer alongside on the menu.
Just as I was doing a sad attempt at a reel around my flat to celebrate the demise of the Gastropub word, along comes another thriller. I read that sales through the tills at Lidl and Aldi are outstripping those of the ‘Big Four’ (Kantar World Panel). I must take some credit here. I gave a powerful and persuasive diatribe on how to spend your summer holidays at home and there I suggested - tongue-in-cheek - you shop in the likes of Lidl and Aldi as it was a bit like shopping abroad – Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish and Baltic shops are good too.
This could be the last year to visit a Gastropub. We’ll see, just as we watch the big retailers fight harder than ever for our money. Waitrose – the Boden Boys of food (their words, not mine) - however continue to show growth, but Morrisons could be the boys to watch – they are starting to be out of character and very un-Morrisons – and that’s always exciting. They’ve focused themselves on some of the best American food retailing and the effects are dramatic in their new store layouts. We could be in a very different place by this time next year.
No more food ‘on a bed of”, ‘with a pesto crust’, ‘in its own jus’, ‘Carpaccio’s of….’ - just real food made by people who can cook with love and attention, not with words alone which has been an obsession for way too long now. Like everything, there’s good, poor and the mass in the middle. Gastropubs had a good start, but have become too predictable, too samey, too expensive and their menu’s too wordy.
Haute-cuisine is a quite different matter. That’s why I said some months back there are no Master Chefs in Gastropubs. There’s too few Master Chefs to go round.
Hail Blue Collar Gastronomy where the focus is on taste and good cooking – the rest follows on.