A CONNOISSEUR’S CHECKLIST
The devil is in the details, as they say. While expectations of a great restaurant can vary somewhat, some finer points of a restaurant’s hardware do not escape an exacting eye. Here are a few items on Dr Wong’s exacting checklist.
The use of creative lighting sets the stage and mood for an enjoyable evening, such as at 665° at Andaz Singapore. Bright, jarring, cold light gives one the feel of dining in a mortuary and makes the food look unappetizing.
Music also sets the mood for dining. Stark silence, with tables in close proximity on the other hand are perfect for eavesdropping on conversations.
Comfort is paramount. Uncomfortable chairs ensure that diners are not likely to stay or return. The creative arrangement of tables and seating adds to the ambience.
Restaurants with private dining rooms should pay attention to décor, so they do not make one feel like one is dining in a claustrophobic cardboard box.
It seems obvious that cleanliness is a given, but attention to detail is entirely dependent on the staff.
A comprehensive wine list and staff with a knowledge of pairing the wines with offerings on the menu are a standout in any restaurant, fine dining or otherwise. If the restaurant does not have a good wine list, let alone an extensive one, they should consider waiving corkage to encourage diners to bring their own. This will certainly cut costs for the restaurants in not having to keep an inventory of wines which either don’t sell or turn into expensive vinegar.
Toilets are important. The most inspiring washrooms are the ones with panoramic views and elegant settings. Café Gray in Hong Kong is one such example. Apart from views, they have to be regularly serviced to ensure that they are tidy and clean. The bathroom at Kayauputi at The St Regis Resort in Bali is another. The elegance of lighting and flower arrangements transform the claustrophobia of a confined space into an inviting washroom.