While Americans are going gaga for gastropubs, back in the UK (where the eateries originated) some Britons are tiring of the concept.
The gastropub phenomenon first emerged in early-1990s London with restaurateurs pairing contemporary cuisine—rather than traditional pub grub —with rustic tavern decor. The movement finally crossed the Atlantic in 2004 with the opening of New York’s first installment of the new idiom, The Spotted Pig, which has been squeezing in huge crowds of eager diners since it first opened. A new crop of similar restaurants quickly followed, and joining the fray soon is the unfortunately named Spotted Dick. The gastropub juggernaut made its way further west this past spring with Ford’s Filling Station, L.A.’s first official gastropub.
While the trend can’t be stopped in the States, Laura Barton writes in The Guardian of her fatigue with London’s gastropubs, which she finds have become a culinary cliché:
Gastropub. Three syllables that instill an oily dread into my heart. It is not the word itself, of course, more the fact that, were there such a thing as a linguistic gastropub menu, it would probably find itself described as a duo of pub and gastronomy served on a bed of wild roquette with a plum confit and red wine reduction.
And what does Barton think of the news that superchef Gordon Ramsay plans to open a chain of gastropubs in the UK?
More gastropubs? This seems to me a bleak, bleak future, for as the years have rolled by I have rather had my fill of herbed polenta and parmesan shavings, and after considerable rumination I have reached this conclusion: I loathe gastropubs and all who sail in them.