Seasonality is where it’s at for Plateau head chef Daniel McGarey. Fresh from the challenge of creating his Honey Gourmand menu featuring six courses inspired by a single sweet ingredient, he’s already looking ahead to the next task. So what’s up his sleeve for 2016?
“I think the biggest thing this year is to make people more aware of seasonality,” he said.
“As consumers we’re getting lazy in what we buy – I even saw strawberries on the shelves at Christmas last year.
“When we were growing up that kind of choice wasn’t as readily available. At Plateau we want to make people more aware of cooking with the seasons and that will reflect in our menus.”
The recent emergence of meat-focussed Big Easy has also had an influence on the restaurant overlooking Canada Square Park.
Daniel said: “They have their USP and it’s working well for them.
“Simple, but well done cuts of meat are very popular at the moment and I think that will grow throughout the year.
“For us, we are thinking of moving towards utilising our grill more in the bar and grill section of the restaurant.
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“I definitely think the amount of grill style restaurants opening is more in fashion and what we’ve seen in our space is the simpler the cooking, the more well received it is.
“For instance, if you cook a pork chop beautifully with a bit of garnish it seems to go down better than a fish pie.
“Another thing my sous chef and I were talking about was bringing in more British pub snacks – but re-worked – like a British tapas.”
Daniel is keeping his next gourmand menu tightly under wraps. But the latest one may lend some sort of insight into what the team are looking to work towards.
Each of the £55 or £75 (with wine) Honey Gourmand menus sold, which feature honey made at Mudchute Farm on the Isle of Dogs will see £1 donated to the charity.
It’s available until February 29 and Daniel said the initiative was also designed to raise awareness of the city farm, located 30 minutes’ walk from Canary Wharf.
He said: “The more you speak to the people who work there, the more you respect the work they do. They don’t take anything for granted and rely solely on donations.
“While using a sweet product completely through and entire menu was a challenge, I was really happy to be able to promote Mudchute as while more blocks are going up around them, they are getting fewer donations now – so it’s not the greatest for them.”
As for his future creations, perhaps the focus on locally sourced ingredients could provide a clue. In any case, look out for seasonality, straightforward grilled cuts and British tapas at Plateau this year.