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The 11 cafe trends of 2016 we're happy to see the back of

In the course of researching The Good Food Guide we ate in loads of cafes – that's a sea of coffee and a truckload of trends. Here's the ones we'd like to see the back of.

1. Milkshakes with stuff on top. Does anyone actually consume these frankenshakes – or just Instagram them?  At their most monstrous they come as a Nutella-loaded milkshake crowned by a Nutella-filled donut with enough sugar to put an elephant in a coma. 

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2. Doughnuts. Peaked with the Oreo doughnut sliders on a menu in Carnegie. I can't begin to imagine where that idea came from –  maybe the kitchen's poetry fridge magnets. See also "lobster doughnut burger".

3. Sliders. Nothing more than tiny excuses for a roll with a name that doesn't mean anything …

4. Turmeric lattes. Turmeric tastes so terrible it must be good for you. Add hot milk and you have a warm curry milkshake. But "good for you" isn't good for me.

5. Flowers on everything. In pretty pink patterns and artful scatters of golden yellow. Some cafe dishes are looking more like micro-scale gardening projects than food. This one is all about getting you to do the cafe's marketing for them via Instagram.


6. Kale in everything. Superfood salads, smoothies, savoury danishes – all the kale-charged things. Least favourite – kale "crisps": whatever nutrition was in the leafy greens has been deep-fried out of them, leaving just the boiled cabbage taste.

7. Superfood salads. The idea that anything is a "superfood" is not supported by science: these salads won't boost your immune system, cure cancer or help you outlive an Okinawan. Adding "California" doesn't make this any more likely.

8. Pulled pork. Often tasteless and stringy, usually needs a slather of spicy-sweet sauce to make it palatable, rarely fall-apart tender and juicy. We have to stop.

9. Barbecue. Can anyone really tell the difference between Kansas, Carolina, Texas and a pile of bricks in the back yard? Especially cringe-worthy when served from behind trucker cap, horn-rimmed spectacles and beard.

10. Coffee in wine glasses. Melbourne's caffeine habits are pretentious enough (I plead guilty on all counts) – there's no need to serve it in a wine glass so we can swirl, sniff and spit as well.

11. Hybrid pastries. The cronut and the cruffin were fun experiments in bakery science. But some cafe chefs feel they need a weird pastry hybrid as a signature, and it's just getting confusing: think the croggle – a bagel shaped out of croissant dough –  which should have been called the cragel (or never happened at all) …

The Age Good Food Guide 2017 is now on sale in newsagents and bookstores, with all book purchases receiving free access to the new Good Food app.


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