Dressing to dine

Let’s dress again with the elegance and respect beautiful dining rooms deserve.

One of Amanda’s favourite dining rooms in the world - the supremely tasteful Gritti Palace, Venice. Photograph: Richard Wayman

One of the areas where lack of awareness and lazy dressing have a very negative impact is in the beautiful dining rooms of hotels and restaurants.

I often ask the waiters how it affects them when they are so well dressed and respectful towards the guests who are often very slovenly and disrespectfully dressed in turn. The answer is – it gets them down. In an immaculate hotel in Sicily, the gloved waiter served coffee in sparkling silverware to a youngish American guest who looked as though he had been shipwrecked. Gripping the coffee cup with a claw-like hand instead of using the handle with his phone in the other, all the details that were tirelessly worked on by the staff were lost on him. A scruffy Brit in his 50s sat on the terrace drinking cappuccino in an old grey t-shirt and scruffy, baggy shorts. A generation ago a brisk landlady would have chased him out of a working man’s bar, never mind one of the most beautiful hotels in Europe. The message that comes across, albeit inadvertently, is one of ‘my money is enough, I don’t need to make any effort or contribution at all.’

I know this from the other side too. Years ago, I ran a small restaurant in Ireland – hours were spent starching linen, polishing cutlery and glasses so they gleamed. The small dining room would look like a twinkling picture – perfectly candlelit, the freshest of flowers and glistening tableware. The chef would spend hours creating and preparing the menu and the guests would arrive. We felt both huge gratitude towards and a sense of acknowledgement from, those guests who had made an effort. When a couple came in a jacket and tie and a pretty dress we knew they saw us. They saw the effort. They were aware. They played their part, they wanted to maximise their enjoyment of their evening. They had tuned into the space, the staff and the huge effort that went into it all. When people arrived in jeans and trainers there was a sinking feeling, a sense of disappointment that they did not think the establishment and the other guests merited any effort. In doing so, they had missed their chance to fully partake.

Dining Capsule The Dress Edit

Dining Capsule Separates Edit

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