Liverpool's restaurant experts predict the food trends for 2018; It's looking good for anyone who swerves meat.
With new openings taking place on a near weekly basis in Liverpool, the city's restaurant scene couldn't bein ruder health.
And with venues customers want to book months in advance comes experts that clearly know their culinary stuff.
In recent years we've seen establishments embrace trends that range from pomegranate to smashedavocadovia salted caramel andsmall plates.
But what about 2018? Are the signs already there for the menus we can expect to see on our tables in the next 12 months?
Proving you can't be an expert without showing some foresight, the city's restaurant owners have nailed their napkins to the mast and let us know what THEY think YOU will be eating next year.
With venues in Stanley Street and Brunswick Way, the teamherehave years of experience in seeing how the tastes of Liverpool's foodies develop.
General manager Danielle Youds said: "We have seen more and more demand for extensive and delicious vegan menus that go beyond the expectations of our customers.
"I predict that Liverpool will see a surge of vegan restaurants and even takeaway options in the new year with more people now dining with a conscience.
"We have already witnessed an explosion of vegan products on the market, particularly in non-dairy milks and desserts with the likes of internationally recognised brandssuch as Baileysoffering a dairy free alternative andMcDonald'slatest meat-free menu options.
"As we head into January, we already see a nod to the rise of the vegan lifestyle with several local establishments endorsing 'Veganuary'.
"Here at Delifonseca, we pride ourselves on creating vegan dishes that can be enjoyed by everyone and have even catered for a number of vegan weddings with our meat and dairy-free menus going down a treat with guests!
"Although small plates have been prominent in 2017, we predict that customers will gravitate towards complete meals on a plate in 2018.
"Although smaller, sharing options can be great for a party or casual dining, we have seen customers steering back towards wholesome and hearty dishes which are both filling and often more cost-effective."
You can find out more about Delifonseca atits website.
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Already a success in Heswall, the restaurant with a menu inspired by the destinations along the historic Silk Road trail comes to Liverpool's commercial districtin 2018.
Owner Chris Williams said: "I predict that there is going to be a huge rise in vegan and vegetarian restaurant offerings in the new year and we are always looking at ways in which we can incorporate meat-free options into our own menu.
"Vegan dishes are a staple in locations along the Silk Road and can range from rice and curry dishes in the Far East to Mediterranean cuisine which heavily features locally sourced vegetables.
"The restaurant world is opening its eyes to allergens and the use of organic ingredients and as diners become more educated, they are seeking alternatives such as dairy and gluten free."
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Owner Javier Mellado added: "We have already seen a surge in the popularity of street food in 2017 and we believe that it will continue to be a huge trend in the new year with customers looking for a more relaxed and authentic dining experience.
"The food culture in the UK has changed significantly over recent years, with diners open to trying different cuisine from world wide destinations and at Silk Road, customers can indulge in a mezze of flavours from across three continents.
"This more intimate and authentic style of dining also ties in with the rise of independently run eateries in the region. Customers relish the opportunity to dine in local establishments where they can build a real rapport with the owners and staff, coming back to their favourite destination time and time again."
Find out more about Silk Road atthe website.
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Heard the expression less is more? Well, 2018 is shaping up to be a more is more kind of year according to Bierkeller head chef Adam Van Hecke.
Adam, the man responsible for menus in Bierkeller, Shooters and Around The World in Liverpool ONE, predicts the trend for super-stacked food is likely to get even bigger (and taller!) in the new year.
Believe it or not, burgers probably haven't reached peak topping yet.
He said: "Our two biggest sellers in the last couple of months of 2017 have been our Bang Tidy Burger and our Cow Girl Burger.
"The Bang Tidy is loaded with premium beef, southern fried chicken, bacon, cheese, crumbed and fried cheese stuffed chilli pepper, cheddar and garlic mayo, and the Cow Girl has premium beef, bacon, cheese, onion rings and BBQ sauce.
"They're pretty mighty, but our customers love them so we're confident stacked burgers are going to be a really big trend going through into 2018.
"Vegan is my other prediction for the new year.
"I've introduced a really tasty vegan version of our best-selling Bavarian bratwurst hot dog onto our menu and they've been a hit, so I think we'll definitely see more original vegan dishes in 2018."
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So that's three venues all predicting big things for vegan dishes in 2018.
They're all places which deal with the savoury side of life, so if we pose the same question to a place which is all about the sweet stuff, will the answer be the same?
Opening in New Brighton in January 2012 and branching out into Birkenhead Park since, these ice cream parlours have become known for theirever more experimentalflavours, they even produced one tasting of Parma Violets after customers requested it.
Very much a family business, Justin Dooley and father Dave have been travelling the globe to find out about new flavours and manufacturing techniques in the past 12 months.
Justin told us: "The big food trend that we're working towards for 2018 is the vegan trend.
"We have launched our range of vegan ice creams and we've got some really exciting new flavours that we have recently launched, including Oreos and Cream and Salted Caramel.
"We're also looking at working with root vegetables for our ice cream in 2018 including sweet potato and ube!"
It's early days but we're looking at 2018 being the year that vegan enters the menu mainstream, promotion from far too long in the lower leagues.
Between us, we were secretly hoping that free cake handed out to everyone, all day, every day, would be the prevailing trend next year.
Ah well, there's always 2019.
Delifonseca Dockside is one of the restaurant's branches in Liverpool
Delifonseca's prepared a Vegan Burger specially for National Burger Day 2017
One of the small dishes available at Silk Rd
Expect burgers just as big as this in Bierkeller in 2018
Justin Dooley of Caffe Cream with the parlour's ice cream and chips dish which caused a stir in the summer of 2017
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|Title Annotation:||What's On|
|Publication:||Crosby Herald (Liverpool, England)|
|Date:||Dec 30, 2017|
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