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Trend report: Rebel Restaurants

Stylus Trend Report

Diners are increasingly concerned about climate change, health and wellbeing, and political unrest. And these escapist ‘rebel restaurants’ have started to respond.

Restaurants of the future are responding to key consumer concerns around health and wellbeing, climate change and even political unrest. These creative and escapist spaces are using food and drink to make bold social statements and provide visceral stimulus for intellectually hungry patrons. 


Primal perspectives: ‘Wild’ ingredients, primitive cooking methods and historical cuisines herald a new era in food provenance that speaks to integrity of product and time-honoured methods. Proximity to food source becomes essential, as does the rejection of modern conveniences in favour of traditional techniques – even those that jar the senses. 

Chefs take a stand: As chefs become vocal cultural, social and environmental activists, they are boldly challenging industry norms and expectations. Eco-minded cooks are painstakingly recalibrating supply chains to minimise unnecessary waste, while political and social agendas are expressed through food.

Unconventional eats: Avant-garde artistic collaborations forge new synapses between food, art, music and movement. Deliberately highbrow, abstract and often challenging, these concepts reinterpret the traditional dining experience for open-minded patrons. At select establishments, for example, cutlery is abolished in favour of hands-on interaction.

Bio-hacked meals: As the desire for health and wellness grows, the number of dining establishments centralising their offers around wellbeing has soared. A clutch of bioscience-focused eateries are taking this notion further with offers designed to enhance digestive and brain health.

Primal perspectives

Rigorously raw dining experiences are responding to several lifestyle influences: the emotional need to digitally detox; the physical desire to reconnect with the natural world; and impending food scarcity. Our full report introduces an Argentine chef who’s championing primal cooking, explores how a process called nixtamalization is creating tasty tortillas, and samples ancient edibles like prickly pear wine and toasted grasshoppers. Read more.

Chefs take a stand

Today’s chef has become a social, cultural and environmental activist. Bold in their viewpoints, these influencers use food and drink as creative and accessible vehicles to express political and societal opinions. Our full report explores how some are serving upscale cuisine from edible by-products, and how some bars aren’t being shy when it comes to showing off their political colours. Read more.

Unconventional eats 

The worlds of food and art are converging to offer patrons sensorially rich experiences that deliver culinary conviviality and creativity. Our full report reveals why some British and Spanish restaurants are abandoning cutlery, and how others are presenting meat in honest – and at times, brutal – ways. Read more.

Biohacked meals

Health-centric establishments take a science-led approach to wellbeing, going a step further than ‘clean eating’ cafes. While these spaces still use superfoods as core ingredients, their offers are anchored more in the bioscience realm, with dishes that boost brain and gut health and increased vitality. Our full report visits the LA cafes emitting electromagnetic fields and the upscale establishments offering weed-infused cuisine, among others. Read more.

Future insights

Go filter-free: Food is the perfect vehicle with which to explore difficult, tricky or contentious topics in soft or hard-hitting ways. Strong brand messages can be conveyed through sensorial treatments and rich narratives embedded into a meal, dish or even a single ingredient.

Design restaurants to reset: With digestive and brain health impacting product development in a big way, it’s only a matter of time before this trickles through to the hospitality realm. Watch this nascent trend and find ways to personalise your menus and environments accordingly.

To view the full report on Stylus.com, inclusive of more must-read future insights, click here. And to be the first to hear about new trend reports, don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter.