In a multicultural city like London, the choices of dining places is absolutely mind-boggling. Anyone can sit down at a fast-food or fast-casual dining restaurant, get food of choice and then saunter back out in the space of twenty minutes. However, fine dining is a completely different affair.
The emphasis on “fine” is certainly not misplaced. Fine dining restaurants are highly specialized establishments – something that shows in everything from their decor to their cuisine and service.
The restaurant will usually specialize in one particular cuisine – Mediterranean, European, Indian, Chinese etc. The rest of the establishment is constructed as a monument to the excellent food being served within its walls.
The decor of the fine dining restaurants often matches the dominant cuisine being served there. A Chinese restaurant, for example, may choose to have its waiters dressed in traditional clothes, and to use Chinese motifs in its wall hangings or table curios. Chopsticks are an absolute must if one wishes to keep something of an authentic feel… even though most Chinese restaurants are europeanized by sheer necessity.
Similarly, a restaurant featuring a jazz club is expected to preserve something of a “smoky pub” feel. Dim lighting, artfully hidden light sources, an excellent sound system and a few live jazz players complete the ambience. Now, the restaurant becomes the perfect place in which to enjoy a simple – or complex – meal and to soak in the soft, flowing music.
The effect of fine dining can easily be spoilt if the others at the restaurant do not cooperate. Screaming children, raucous gatherings and bickering groups are among the many factors that have diners rushing out as soon as they could possibly finish.
It is precisely to guard against such unwelcome interruptions that many fine dining places will have private dining rooms. These may be used for small family get-togethers, for large groups dining together, or for business lunches.
Even though private dining rooms are much smaller than the large shared space, they are usually worth it when peace and quiet is necessary. If afraid that the silence will create a cold and frozen atmosphere, you can always play music of your choice.
Whatever you do, make sure that you are in a position to enjoy your fine dinner, with or without company. This is best done by figuring out what you want to eat, by booking a table for yourself beforehand, and by preceding the dinner with a gay of good work or on a difficult case with autism.
Once in a while, everyone deserves a treat. Fine dining is a treat that is both expensive and needs rest. Soon, hopefully, you will also have your car, and you can drive any time you want!