By Sophie Mir
Over the long term, Canadians have become more accepting of global fare and spicier dishes, prompting operators to explore the world for different menu ideas. While the specifics change from month to month, Technomic has identified Mediterranean flavours and spicy bowls as the latest popular iterations of those larger trends. On the sweet side of the spectrum, coconut-flavoured desserts have come to the fore, riding the perception that it’s a healthier alternative to dairy-based desserts. Below, you’ll find examples on Canadian menus of what’s trending where and why.
Mediterranean flavours and ingredients have become mainstream, and Canadian consumers are increasingly familiar with regional staples, including hummus, quinoa, falafel, couscous, tahini, chickpea and halloumi. Their acceptance has prompted a wave of restaurants focused on Mediterranean fare and made the cuisine a standby at others, as well. Mediterranean cuisine, which is rich in healthy fats and low in sugar, has also benefited from Canadians’ increasing demand for healthier options.
- Good Earth Coffeehouse: Recently debuted an edamame hummus and egg kit
- The Keg Steakhouse + Bar: The new Green Goddess chopped salad features Israeli couscous
- Freshii: A limited-time kale Caesar salad is bulked up with chickpeas and quinoa
Chefs looking to add a new twist to their entree menus are featuring spicy mayonnaise, sauces, aioli and marinades in their lunch and dinner entree bowls. Operators are especially spotlighting jalapeno, chipotle, ancho and habanero flavours. Their inclusion is a versatile, inexpensive way to lend more character and complexity to existing dishes.
- Yuzu Sushi: The new Salmon Serrano Bowl includes both spicy mayonnaise and spicy maple soy sauce
- Mucho Burrito: A smoked cherry chicken pibil bowl features chipotle crema and jalapeno chips
- Cultures: The new Bangkok Grain Bowl is finished with a classic spicy Thai peanut sauce
Often perceived as a healthy food, coconut is popping up across several dessert menus in Canada, offering a better-for-you touch to traditional desserts. This tropical fruit is showcased in diverse forms, including in mousses, sauces, cakes and tortes. Aside from its distinct, mellow flavour, coconut also functions as a substitute for dairy, enabling operators to reach consumers with dietary preferences and restrictions.
- Milestones: The recently debuted Show Stopper features a chocolate torte underneath a mound of coconut mousse
- Moxie’s Grill & Bar: An almond and coconut crust sets off Moxie’s rich, decadent dark chocolate cake
- La Piazzetta: A limited-time pineapple cake is finished with coconut sauce