A ‘hipster’ was once described to me as a person that makes as big an effort as possible to ensure that they appear as though they made as little effort as possible in how they present themselves. Paradoxically, they are often stereotyped as skinny people with a diet consisting mostly of burgers and fries. Sometimes it might seem odd to think that what we may consider to be just a fashion trend having a direct influence upon the food that we are sold in supermarkets as well as cafés and restaurants alike, but of course, it is essential for a business to cater to the interests of large groups, despite claims that the hipster crowd is a niche market.
Writing from the up-and-coming seaside town Bournemouth, it is clear to see the rise in – and often, the success of – what I would consider ‘hipster gourmet’ food outlets. That is, independent eateries that are tucked away slightly from the centre of the town (where chain restaurants thrive) and that have a deliberate minimalist look with stools and barrels or old wooden chairs and tables, which you would expect to find in a charity shop. The walls may be covered in corrugated aluminium or adorned with posters advertising local events or renowned faces such as Bob Marley and Morrissey.
The food also follows the theme of appearing deceivingly straight-forward. A typical order may be a burger, served on a wooden chopping board or greaseproof paper, with fries or mac and cheese served in a little steel bucket, which if you’re paying over £10 for, may feel like daylight robbery. However, a closer look into the company will find that you have purchased local meat, organic salad and hand-cut chips, with homemade sauce, which have all been specially arranged or created to optimise flavour as well as benefit the local community.
There is a clear influence from Mexican and American dishes as we find multiple variations on chilli cheese fries and nachos. American sodas and large milkshakes are also on the menu, along with both craft beers as well as foreign lagers such as the Jamaican ‘Red Stripe’ – edging away from mainstream beverages.
To look at these establishments, as to look at a person who dresses in the hipster style, you would assume they were cheap and thrifty, when usually the opposite is true. So much, in fact, that walking past one of these places in the day time, you may find it packed with suited businessmen on a working lunch. Even in supermarkets, our ready meals and our many new variations on condiments that have appeared over the year are reflecting this trend of putting an American spin on our basic junk food whilst ensuring high-quality ingredients to make it less ‘junky’.
Whilst ‘hipster gourmet’ might not be ideal for a fancy date or formal meeting, I would certainly recommend ditching the multinational burger chains and giving it a try before 2016’s new big culinary trend rolls in.
Have you tried ‘hipster gourmet’? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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