Trend Snapshot: The Big Breakfast Boom

Created with Phil Owens for Bespoke Menu Design – see the original here!

Innovative all-day breakfasts at Higher Ground in Melbourne, courtesy of Higher Ground

With 49,518,358 hashtag posts to-date on Instagram, and eating up an impressive 26% of meals eaten out in the UK according to MCA Insight, breakfast, in its many incarnations, is fast becoming the favourite meal of the day.

Opulent weekend brunches have been gaining traction in recent years, but the idea of celebrating the daily ritual of breakfast – something many of us have long taken for granted, or even omitted – is really starting to take hold.

Where can we attribute this breakfast boom? The wider trends for mindful eating and health come into play, as does the growth of the “foodie population” and allure of social media…most notably in the form of Instagram breakfast hero, @SymmetryBreakfast.

With a recently published cookbook and 638k followers on his account, Symmetry Breakfast’s Michael Zee has been creating jaw-droppingly beautiful globally influenced breakfasts for himself and his partner (and his legions of followers) for the past three years – showing Instagram and the food world just how inspiring and versatile this meal really is.

The recently published Symmetry Breakfast cookbook cover

Elsewhere on Instagram, the #cleaneating set have been revelling in all kinds of energetic and colourful breakfast innovation, with the rise of the smoothie bowl, in its acai berry form and many other vibrant varieties, and in the pimping of humble porridge.

With a dash of date molasses and a sprinkling of bee pollen, the healthy breakfast trend is being realised in the real world too – with modern porridge champion and hero of the fast-growing Danish lifestyle concept hygge, Alex Hely-Hutchinson of 26 Grains just last month releasing her debut cookbook and moving into a larger premises to keep up with demand for her promising Covent Garden café.

Even the corporates are getting in on the action, with high-street chains Podand Pret creating their own superfood-packed porridges, yogurts, smoothies and egg dishes, and Kelloggs Bran Flakes releasing in the UK in July their “Art of Breakfast” ad campaign, depicting Instagram-style colourful, layered and creative breakfasts, with the message that breakfast is a blank canvas in which to create ‘a new masterpiece every morning.’

But breakfast ain’t just for the morning anymore, and nor is it overly innocent, as we’ve also seen a rise in all-day cafes blurring mealtime boundaries and serving bold, globally inspired breakfast food all day.

Late-night breakfast spread from Nighthawk Breakfast Bar in LA, courtesy of Nighthawk

From Middle-East-meets-NY-deli The Good Egg in London’s Stoke Newington with their bacon and date pitta and halva croissants, to modern global café Higher Ground in Melbourne with their Middle Eastern minced lamb fry-up and miso cauliflower breakfast bowl, and not to mention the in-yer-face Nighthawk in LA with food to make clean-eaters shudder, like their Vietnamese banh mi bowl with braised pork belly and candied bacon breakfast burger, washed down with spiked cereal milk, cold-brew cocktails, boozy floats and slushy Marys.

There’s a rule-breaking quality to this type of eating, and also a sense of reclaiming personal and social time – as Michael Zee of Symmetry Breakfast says in his August interview with The Pool, ‘I just want to bring people together, give them a reason to say, “Let’s go have breakfast today.” That’s all, really.’

In this spirit, we’ve hand-picked a few recent stories from our new trends platform Flavour Feed that we think have serious potential. Check out snippets of these below – and happy innovating.

Pimped Porridge is Making Gruel Cool

“The Elvis” oatmeal with bacon, peanut butter and banana at Oatmeals in NY

Boring old oats gets a makeover as healthy food heroes jazz up the age-old breakfast classic – and guess what? It’s not just for breakfast anymore as savoury, hearty porridge like risOATto and Asian congee becomes fair game for all-day eating.

OatMeals in New York run by Quaker Oats Creative Oatmeal Officer Sam Stephens is proudly the US’s first oat bar, offering build-your-own options as well as an American menu full of sweet and savoury options, from salted caramel apple to the Elvis-inspired banana, peanut butter and bacon. 

In London’s Covent Garden, 26 Grains also champions the humble dish, this time made for the discerning, health-conscious crowd – serving up Nordic-spiced porridge and oyster mushroom and sticky black rice bowls.

Pasta for Brekkie in Australia

Pasta for breakfast at Small Axe Kitchen in Melbourne, courtesy of @HungryCookiee

Global breakfasts come in many guises, but in Australia it seems the latest trend is for a bowl of pasta in the morning.

At Melbourne’s Small Axe Kitchen you can eschew the traditional avocado on toast and instead opt for their breakfast pasta – a hearty bowl of maccaruni, guanciale, peas, mint, salted ricotta and slow-cooked egg, whilst at Sth Centralyou can fill up with breakfast gnocchi, served with smoked salmon tartare, beetroot, poached egg and lemon.

Further north in Brisbane at Morning After Cafe they have carbonara on their breakfast menu, which they make with parpadelle, 63-degree hen’s egg, field mushrooms, guanciale and pecorino.

Nutritionist-Designed Dishes

A nutritionist-designed dish at Albion in London

British café and bakery Albion have just opened their newest site in Clerkenwell and have a lovely, seasonal breakfast menu. Of particular interest are two of the dishes that have been developed in conjunction
with nutritionists Chris Sandel and Libby Limon.

Yet another nod to the ever-increasing health trend and an idea we think will soon be picked up by other forward-thinking restaurants.


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