They’re on every table of every restaurant and pub, so why call them out on the menu? Salt and pepper are seasoning staples, yet many U.K. operators are specifying how they are used in new menu items.
Part of the trend derives from menu items being more descriptive overall. But also, menu developers and consumers alike have come to recognise the difference between granulated salt and sea salt, or between black and green peppercorns.
Use of the word “peppercorn,” for example, has increased in incidence by 7% in second-quarter 2014 as compared to the same period of 2013 on the menus of the U.K.’s leading chains and independent operators tracked in Technomic’s MenuMonitor online intelligence tool. “Salt” and “sea salt” have not increased in number—until you refine the data to look just at desserts, where salted caramel is on the rise.
Here, some recent menu additions with salt and pepper in supporting roles.
- ASK: Rosemary and Sea Salt Bread, fresh from the oven with fruity ASK Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil; vegetarian
- Olive Press Pizzeria Bar & Grill: Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta, crisp baked bread with whipped goat’s cheese, sea salt, garlic and olive oil
- FishWorks: Line-Caught Dorset Wild Sea Bass, baked in sea salt for two to share
- The Pipe and Glass: Salt Baked Celeriac, with wild mushrooms, chard, baby leeks, crispy poached duck egg and hazelnut milk
- Wagamama: Edamame with Chilli and Garlic Salt—steamed green soya-beans with chilli and garlic salt
- Frankie & Benny’s: Bourbon Toffee Pudding—warm toffee sponge topped with real dairy vanilla ice cream and coated in bourbon salt caramel sauce
- Starbucks: Salted Caramel Pecan Sweet Petite Treat
- Spaghetti House: Alici and Insalatina di Finocchio—marinated anchovies, pink peppercorns, lemon, shaved fennel and rocket salad
- The Punchbowl: Lyth Valley Damson Panna Cotta, Lemon Jelly, Pink Peppercorn Meringue and Pistachio Cream
- Barrasford Arms: Seared Rump Steak with hot peppercorn sauce, served with hand-cut chips
- NOPI: Cumbrian Sirloin with watercress and green peppercorn relish
- Tavern Table: British Beef Short Ribs, slow-cooked for 14 hours and served in a creamy peppercorn sauce with mashed potato and vegetables