First of all, I want to start off by saying that I am not against food blogs, or any other blogs that talk about fine dining. Heck, I love food, all kinds of food. And, when I say fine dining, I mean at least 1 Michelin star. Most people talk about the presentation and the taste and the combination blah blah. But today I want to share with you, my inner most thoughts about the whole experience of fine dining.
Weekend reservations are hard to get unless you book 3 to 4 month in advance. I hardly plan my life out 2 days in advance, so that is a bit of a challenge. Weeknights are the answer. Going on a weekday is a stress. Most of the time it is a reservation afterwork, so extra care must be taken into what I wear to work. It must be dressy and sassy for dinner, but modest at the same time for work. I already have ‘repetitive-alarm-snooze syndrome’ with zombie like symptoms in the mornings, so this is always too much to deal with in the morning.
After making a mess and finding the perfect outfit, I drag my bottom to work. Did I ever tell you that I would give Mr Bean a run for his money? ‘Clumsy’ is my middle name. So I must concentrate extra hard the whole day in order to avoid spillage on my dress. I also spend most of the day looking once, twice, and more at the menu, and the extensive wine list, trying to marry them up. Who needs a sommelier, clearly I know better.
So, I don’t know about y’all, but I switch from Jekyll or Hyde (I can never remember which one is the good one!) to the other as soon as I enter the premises. Best behaviour is put forward, otherwise the dining police will come and arrest me. Our coats are taken, then we are seated. This is when I do a sweep of the room. Quietly when I think no one is looking, I look at them. Stealth mode ‘activate’. One must make sure they are dressed up to standard, and that they are not out of place. I am not really sure why I bother. It’s not like I will walk out, even if I am under dressed. If I will be losing a significant deposit for the reservation, f@£$ the dress right? Back to ‘stealth’…Yes! I can’t believe it! There is someone in jeans. I can now relax and enjoy what is to come. Almost.
Let’s talk about the experience. Warm soft fluffy bread. A wide selection of it. The waiter comes around with a basket and rattles off the variety of flavours.The Hyde inside me, is telling me to ask her to leave the entire basket behind. I want it right in the middle with at least 7 more portions of butter. I want to lather it all on all the bread and eat it until my heart’s content! But Jekyll finally chooses a singular roll. My eyes then follow this basket around the room, longing for it to come back near me.
Here comes the Sommelier. We have decided on our choices. I know exactly what I am getting. I knew from about 10 am this morning. He listens to my choice and recommends a particular wine. This is not what I was going to get. My plan has been thrown off course. But he is peering down on me, with a ‘I know all about this you silly girl’ look, and meanwhile I have no idea how to pronounce or repeat the name of the wine he recommended. So I surrender. Yes I will take that!
As expected the entree arrives on a massive plate, with minimal food. A brush of something on one side, and drops of puree on the other. I make sure I don’t use the wrong fork here, in case I will be escorted out for that. I make a face as the food enters my mouth. I am not entirely sure what my face looks like to others, but I am trying to look like I just had a food explosion in my mouth. 80% of the time, I mean it, the other times I don’t, and it’s just for the sake of it. I must at least make the face, as I am paying a small fortune. The same with the mains and dessert.
Combined with the aperitifs, palate cleansers and digestifs, a fine dining experience will always be filling, full of colour and flavour. Depending on the quality of the service, you will always feel well taken care of in an unobtrusive manner. So all you really need to do is go in, relax and enjoy the experience, and get your money’s worth. But in reality you are always going to be a little tense putting on airs and graces, whether you like it or not. I personally feel that way. If only Heston or Gordon did free home delivery? Wouldn’t that be perfect ;P