Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentines day dining ...

I'm sure there'll be many of you surprised to hear that, despite my well deserved reputation as a hopeless old romantic, I'm not a fan of the 'Valentines day dining experience'. It was nicely summed up by a restauranteur of my acquaintance recently as the best and worst day of the catering year. What did he like ?... average food, prepared in batches, set menu, squeeze as many in as you can, jack up the prices. However, his staff hate it, there's no ambiance, it feels like duty-dining, they don't sell much drink (surprisingly), there's very poor tipping.

I do recall a couple of years ago Mrs S and I surviving a Valentines day supper in a pleasant enough Thai restaurant in Virginia Water. The couple adjacent to us spent an intense 30 minutes dissecting their miserable lives (in frankly, way too much detail), over the starter, We weren't deliberately eavesdropping but in keeping with the pack 'em in philosophy she was sitting closer to me than Mrs S was. He stormed off to the loo between courses and returned to find she'd settled the bill and was on her way out of the car park. On the upside it did make a normally tedious evening a little more entertaining for the rest of us.

A notable Valentines' day dinner was when a chum rang me in the morning having failed to locate a restaurant for himself and his lady love, despite my understandable misgivings he cajoled me into inviting them along to our prebooked repast. The restaurant was very accomodating and we had a lovely meal spoiled only by the fact that they arrived "not talking to each other" and maintained that policy throughout the evening, good news for the restaurant as the wine bill (social anaesthetic) was stupendous.

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