food & drink

'Restaurant' dining while in confinement

Judging from what is currently offered by restaurants to ease the effects of confinement, memories appear remarkably short. Have we really forgotten what it is like to enter a restaurant, be guided to a table in the bar area for the purpose of spending a relaxing half-hour with a pre-dinner aperitif accompanied by some nibbles? These anticipatory moments are probably the most enjoyable of the evening. At this stage we are dreaming of a perfect meal and expectations are high. Then, on to the table. This is all part of the experience.

While it is understandable that restaurants currently prevented from welcoming customers through their doors need to keep the money coming in, I have yet to hear about a successful fine dining experience at home, courtesy of a local hostelry.

While we would prefer all restaurants to be making enough to survive, don't let them promote the experience as if it were in some way equivalent to eating out. For takeaway customers there is no personal contact, no appetizing smells from the kitchen, no wine tasting ritual, so why should we pay the same as we would pay on their premises? We have to wash up afterwards, and although they will argue that the cost of delivering the meal is expensive and the loss of wine sales hits their bottom line, these are unconvincing arguments.

The cost of the raw material is not usually a major factor in any establishment's cost column, so it is hard to justify restaurant menu prices for takeaways.