The nights will soon be drawing in and temperatures dropping. So, as the season changes, so should your menu. Delicious, flavoursome and hearty food is the order of the day for autumn, and now is the time to start planning dishes for the season ahead. Take Stock looks at some autumn delights that your customers will love…
What to serve
Game – healthy and versatile, British game is a tasty alternative to lamb, chicken, beef or pork and thanks to its robust flavours it stands up well to strong spices and herbs. Pigeon, rabbit and certain varieties of venison are available all year round, but it’s during open season when game comes into its own with copious amounts of pheasant, partridge and grouse on offer. Low in cholesterol and high in protein, game is generally free of steroids or antibiotics so is one of the healthiest meats available.
Menu ideas – roasted guinea fowl, venison burger, partridge carbonara and pigeon fajitas
Roast Dinners – the good old roast dinner never goes out of fashion. One of the most popular dishes in the UK, it is a guaranteed way to boost sales. To help you stand out from the crowd, make your roast special by putting a unique twist on it. Options include a special gravy or sides, a take away option or even offering a full week of roasts on your menu during British Roast Dinner Week on 23-30 September. Celebrate seasonality, create theatre and use large blackboards and colourful chalks to place signs around your venue promoting the event and the dishes you’ll be serving.
Menu ideas – offer a selection of meat alongside traditional options, a whole roast chicken for families to share, serve a gluten-free roast and a vegetarian one too
Curry – as a nation of curry lovers this Indian cuisine will always have pride of place in the hearts of UK diners, especially in the cooler months. Classic dishes such as korma or vindaloo remain popular, however, more customers now want authentic and healthier curries too. And for those who are wary of hot dishes why not just add the spice without the heat to serve Indian-inspired innovations? Ground coriander, cumin or crushed chillies for example can be added to dips, or sprinkled on wedges. A sharing menu will enable customers (pro or novice) to experience a range of dishes and why not offer a food to go option too? National Curry Week on 9-15 October is a great way to boost sales and gauge interest by making curry a prominent daily dish on your menu or take centre stage on your specials boards.
Menu ideas – pulled lamb with fiery mint chutney, lamb & squash biryani, spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal
Sharing dishes – sharing dishes are a great way to mix up your autumn casual dining menu. Perfect for a daytime graze, nibbles to accompany drinks or for evening dining, sharing plates appeal to everyone. A cost effective way to serve on-trend food, the list of sharing dishes is endless, so you can not only experiment with different dishes but keep it fresh to keep customers interested.
Menu ideas – spicy chicken wings, beef nachos, pittas and dips, meat and fish boards, pulled pork, wedges with dips, tapas, cheesy chips and cheese boards
What’s in season
Fruits – plums, damsons, blackberries, figs, apples and pears are all plentiful and good value. These full-flavoured fruits work equally well for sweet and savoury dishes. Pear tarte tatin with gorgonzola for example.
Vegetables – pumpkin, squash, cabbages and root vegetables are perfect for roasting or adding to fragrant soups.