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London's restaurants are harking back to the 70s.

Hands up if you thought that Chicken kiev, Prawn cocktails, Cheese and pineapple sticks, Curried eggs and Arctic rolls were consigned to the history bin?

Not so fast. 70s food is firmly back in fashion and dishes such as Angel delight are staging a return, 40 something years on, as a new generation turns back the clock.

Coin Laundry, the 70s-inspired restaurant that opened to critical acclaim in late 2015, is a case in point. The Exmouth Market eatery pays homage to the 70s - often described as 'the decade that taste forgot' - with retro recipes including Cauliflower cheese steak, Black forest trifle, Soda stream cocktails and a Purple pickled egg with chipsticks to dip in it, dominating the menu.

The restaurant’s dedication to the 70s extends to the decor: wooden floors and tiling, comfortable couches, and simple homely designs  - all trends of the 70s - are combined with playful touches such as kitsch tableware and a vintage pinball machine to finish the look.

Credit: Coin Laundry

Meanwhile in Mayfair, Sketch is serving its sweets on an old school hostess trolley - the sort you probably thought went out of fashion with flares and dodgy perms.

What’s more, it’s not the only trolley in town. On your next foray to Fortnum and Mason, check out the store’s newest tenant, 45 Jermyn St, and more specifically, their caviar trolley - an elegant vehicle serving three types of fancy fish eggs.

Elsewhere The Savoy Grill has unveiled a new Art deco style trolley creaking with cocktails for those looking to get, erm, trollied.

Credit: Kaye Holland

London’s hottest restaurants aren’t the only ones giving the 70s a serious thumbs up - the nation's supermarkets are also getting in on the act. Trawl the aisles on Marks and Spencers, Morrisons et al and you’ll find shelves straining with 70s spreads like Lemon meringue pie, Vol au vents, boiled sweets and After Eight mints. Clearly we’re all pining for 70s inspired dishes, the question is: why?

It’s partly because the 70s food revival coincides with the comeback of boho fashion - aka an easy 70s style approach to dressing - that can be attributed to the success of recent TV shows such as The Sweeney, the final season of Mad Men or Hollywood hit, American Hustle. Meanwhile Spandeau Ballet - an English new wave band formed in London in the late 1970s - recently embarked on a new tour.

You could also argue that it’s down to nostalgia. In the turmoil of today’s world, (think global warming, terrorist threats, an assortment of wars and the general post Christmas malaise) we’re all desperately looking for comfort and finding it in fondly remembered simple pleasures  - step forward Shepherd’s pie, pink gloop (Angel Delight),Wagon Wheels (remember them?)  and fish fingers - from a simpler time. To bite into Baked Alaska is to instantly project yourself back into your childhood, an age of innocence when someone else  assumed all the responsibility.

Credit: Coin Laundry

It’s a stance shared by Prudence Randall, training manager at Coin Laundry, who believes “the resurgence of retro comfort food is amazing and points to the fact that people are tired of eating pretentious or overly designed food - people are looking back and remembering what used to be good."  

Will this retro wave eventually leave us all with a bad taste in our mouths? Time will tell but, given that most of Blighty is suffering from a severe case of the January blues now that that the parties have stopped and we’re all back to work, we can’t see this seventies obsession fading anytime soon...



The rise (and rise) of retro food
Digital Mag

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