There is a time and place for everything when it comes to dining out. Sometimes a casual coffee catch up is warranted; other times cocktails are compulsory. You may be up for joining the lengthy queue of the latest hot, hipster no-booking policy joint one day, yet craving the drive through at Macca’s the next.
The café and restaurant scene at our fingertips in this day and age caters for all predilections and atmospherics. Sure, it isn’t just flavours and food fads that are provided for either, with ambience and style playing a crucial deciding factor for punters as well.
Sometimes one might want to be “seen” and other times anonymously skulk in a corner …
Other times you may be up for shouting joyously over loud music, rather than having a hushed and intense conversation in a cosy room.
Wherever your current mood leads you, may it tick all the boxes in what you hope to achieve by dining out – whether it’s merely leaving with a full belly, or attaining some sort of food and wine holy grail …
Speaking of which, I was fortunate enough to experience the latter a short while ago. A restaurant experience (of which I will keep the name to myself for now), which was entirely amazing in every way. In a headspace where wow factor was required, this place delivered abundantly.
And that’s the thing; there are times that warrant such old school hospitality, bells and whistles, views of city skylines and dimly lit rooms.
Those who proclaim that “fine dining is dead”, obviously can’t recall the beauty and sheer poetry of this kind of dining experience.
This is entertainment – in the same vein as a night at the ballet or the theatre. Each minute detail is rehearsed and choreographed, until it is perfectly executed. Every moment provides a feast for every single one of the senses. No, not just taste and smell, but sights to behold and surfaces to touch.
Dining out is indeed an artform at this level; there is beauty and mystery here. Cynics may proclaim that this genre is staid and sterile, that its formality and stylisation have no place in today’s world, that the crowds crave cruisy, casual friendliness in service and share plates for all to dive into.
Sadly for this reason, some restaurants that maintain this “old school” standard fall out of favour when it comes to industry accolades and peer reviews. They are seen as stagnant and unable to move with the times, and it is easy to overlook them when there are a plethora of “so hot right now” joints opening up every five minutes in a laneway near you.
When something “ain’t broke”, you don’t need to fix it … There may be pressure to conform to current dining trends and break long held traditions within the industry in order to win accolades and approval, but the truth is that fine dining restaurants might need to merely ditch the white tablecloths and then continue on doing exactly what they have been doing and hold tight to weather the storm of reinvention;
because like all fashions, they all inevitably come around full circle and arrive back at the place they started.
And all the crowds that flock to the latest and greatest fly by night will inevitably tire of its offerings and realise in time that it is those very establishments that are the ones that become tired and dated in a very short period in time …
Enough said, and don’t get me wrong – there’s always room for innovation, transformation and fashion.
But sometimes you just want the wow factor … and that is where the old school cannot be beat!