Single-ingredient restaurants, cafés and pop-ups are a growing trend on the global food scene, with star products getting their own dedicated eateries from the USA to Iceland.
New York’s pickles
This spring, in March or April, New Yorkers will be able to grab a bite in a restaurant where pickles take pride of place on the menu, serving up a whole range of fruit and vegetables preserved in brine or vinegar. “The Pickle Guys” is a gourmet grocery store with a well-rooted Manhattan presence since the noughties. Situated in Lower East Side, the store has now moved to a new site with an adjacent restaurant. Although the full menu hasn’t yet been unveiled, the concept will revisit onions, gherkins and other vinegar-soaked veggies in the form of fried pickles. Anything and everything is heading for the fryer, from tomatoes to gombo.
American palettes have a real taste for the sour zing of pickles, it seems. In fact, The Pickle Guys isn’t the first eatery to pay homage to this US favorite, as Maison Pickle opens this week in Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
Across the Atlantic, Amsterdam is also embracing the single-ingredient trend with a bar that will have avocado-lovers drooling and food porn haters fuming. “The Avocado Show,” which opens in February, sees the superfood take the place of a hamburger bun and used instead of potato to make fries. Customers can order all sorts of avocado-based dishes, from breakfast items to late-night snacks.
In Iceland, the star of the show is a humble red fruit that brings a touch of sunshine to diners’ plates. In Fridheimar, one hour from Reykjavik, a tomato farm has opened a restaurant in one of its greenhouses. As well as enjoying a balmy hothouse environment where indoor temperatures are 20°C higher than outdoors, diners can tuck into tomato in all its forms — including a tomato ice-cream. Fruit that can’t be sold on the market is used in the farm’s kitchen. When the restaurant opened in 2012, the experience was the preserve of a handful of tourists venturing off the beaten track. In 2016, Fridheimar welcomed 130,000 visitors. An on-site shop also sells souvenirs for visitors keen to stock up on Icelandic tomato fare.