The Fine Line Between Fine Dining and Fine Clothing

Earlier this year, we talked about what fine dining really means. Is it the rules you put in place or is it the food you serve or is it simply just the level of the establishment? What really makes a place a fine dining restaurant? There are so many elements that go into this. Fine dining restaurants around the world serve the highest quality food, made with the most expensive and exclusive ingredients. The dishes in these restaurants are beyond compare and usually unique and special to that restaurant. A fine dining restaurant provides diners a quiet, but not silent environment to enjoy their meal. There will never be any loud music or loud talking coming from other tables. Very often, fine dining restaurants will also have unpronounceable dishes on their menu (and it’s not your fault that you can’t pronounce it). And yes, fine dining restaurants do have a dress code – formals.

If you’ve been reading the news the last week or so, you would be fully aware of the diner that got turned away from a famous Kolkata dining establishment because she showed up with her driver for dinner. The stories have been coming in from all over the place, with newspapers and magazines and online food sources getting different information and quotes and the restaurant being misquoted or properly quoted. But the gist of it is that the restaurant refused to serve her and her driver because he was a ‘roadsider’.

While we don’t think that what the restaurant said or did was right and was definitely not in good taste, we understand the concept of a ‘dress code’. That’s one of the things that fine dining establishments pride themselves on. All their patrons and diners are dressed impeccably, whether it’s in suits or formal shirts, trousers and closed shoes, they’re always wearing something or the other that says ‘formals’. If you look at photographs of other customers at Mocambo (the restaurant in question), you can tell that they don’t really have a dress code. As long as you’re not sloppy and as long as you have the ability to spend some money on their food and booze, come on in!

The mistake that Mocambo made was obviously the way they handled the customer and her companion – does it really matter if he was her driver or not? They didn’t treat either of them with even a little respect and that’s where you have to stop and say ‘hold on, what the hell?’ A fine dining restaurant would never look down upon their customers that way, they would be clear and understanding about it, not make comments that make the customer and their companion feel like they don’t belong. Explaining the situation and the rules of fine dining is key, always.

But this isn’t just about the Kolkata incident. It’s about a general lack of manners and politeness when it comes to customers. The most important thing is obviously for the establishment to be truly defined as ‘fine dining’. There need to be judges and critics that decide these things, because honestly, some of the restaurants that mark themselves as ‘fine dining’ don’t even come close. Secondly, if they’re going to implement a dress code, everyone needs to abide, not just the ones that look like they can’t afford it. It’s really that simple.