There goes London’s best Monday lunch deal.
I wonder if they’ll still operate their archaic “jacket required” policy for the pop-ups?
If not, I may finally get to eat there.
Purely a guess on my part, but I would think it depends upon the pop-up . . . then again, I have no problem with a “jackets required” policy.
(Danger! Danger! Warning, Will Robinson – Thread Drift Approaching!)
Indeed, I think there’s not enough of that anymore. I don’t mind putting on a suit (or blazer/sports coat) when appropriate and/or required, but it drives me CRAZY¹ when the waiters are formally tired, the service is formal, the restaurant very “upscale” and – despite the requested dress code, I’m sitting next to a foursome with the women dressed to the proverbial nines, while the men are in jeans and their shirt is untucked!
But even (most of) the places with “dress codes” typically don’t enforce them. Last time I ever heard of anyone being refused a table for their lack of appropriate dress was when Masaharu Morimoto tried to dine at a place in a golfing shirt and shorts – and the person at the door (who didn’t recognize him) wouldn’t let him in because shorts weren’t allowed. (Couldn’t happen to a nice fellow!)
¹ Well, OK, that’s something of an exaggeration, regardless of what my doctor says . . .
I don’t own a jacket and havnt for many years, even when I was working for the government. I struggle to think of, literally, more than a handful of UK restaurants that require jackets or, even, “request” them. It really is an anachronism that these places still do. It does not reflect modern British society.
By co-incidence, dinner tomorrow night is at a Michelin 1*. The most formally dressed people in the room will be the serving staff - servers will wear waistcoats and ties; supervisors will wear jackets. The restaurant’s dress code is “smart and informal but no sports wear, ripped denim or shorts.”
I own one suit, and two jackets. Not a big deal, IMHO. I bought the suit for my wedding. Still fits.
I have never worn a suit to work in my life, but I do for formal occasions (think funerals, weddings, and the occasional formal dinner at an establishment which requests that “gentlemen wear jackets”). Very few places in California require this – though “require” is somewhat subjective; “request” is much more accurate, as I’ve never seen anyone denied entry – and I have no doubt that California is far more casual in its dress than the UK! There are places in New York and even more in New Orleans (in others, maybe three), but there too, no one is denied entry.
This isn’t a contest. I just don’t see what the big deal is about a jacket . . .
I think that, in our culture, it says something about a restaurant if they still have that rule. For me, the something is all negative. It’s about how they portray themselves and how people might view that portrayal. It is entirely a personal issue but, to me, it screams that people like me would not be welcome there and, certainly, that I would not enjoy the experience. So, in that respect, it is a very big deal.
I rather miss the days when people got dressed up a bit to go to a nice restaurant or to the theatre. Things have certainly changed when it comes to what one wears to certain places. I’m not sure if it’s not part of the dumbing down of our cultures in other ways, too. To each his own…
So true . . .
Fortunately, not all of us see it the same way . . .
I’m somewhere in the middle ground. If a restaurant has a jacket and tie dress code, I’m unlikely to go; it conjures up an image of the food that time forgot, in an atmosphere stuffier than a taxidermy convention.
And I’m not much for over-formal myself (during my years before the mast in Government I’d managed to ditch the tie for everything up to PUSS, MoS and my own Perm Sec, but retained it for Perms Secs (from OGDs) and SofS, Harters!). That said, there are occasions: anniversaries, birthdays with a “0” at the end, Christmas treats, etc where its nice to dress up.
And when its nice to dress up, it’s also nice to go somewhere where that works with, rather than jars up against, the general tone and ambiance. So I’m all for restaurants who are pitching in that space encouraging a smart basic standard of dress which supports this. I’m at the “Sponsored by The Gap” kind-of-level. Even in the poshest place for the best of occasions, I’m not likely to be put off my truffled lobster merely because an adjacent diner hasn’t got a jacket on; but scruffy jeans and a “Freedom for Tooting” t-shirt are likely to start me wondering whether we both wouldn’t be better off if I stayed here and they went down the road to the place with the small plates, industrial filament lightbulbs and hipster staff.
I think when a restaurant says “smart casual”, we generally know what’s required.
My favourite “requirement” was a place in North Wales which had “Come dressed as you would for a celebration”. That would be, as for tonight’s Michelin meal, chinos and a “proper” shirt and “proper” shoes. Actually that’s pretty much what I wear for any restaurant meal but, then I regard them all as a celebration.
As an aside, Harden’s latest newsletter reports that Monica Galletti, Gavroche’s senior sous chef, is to leave to set up her own restaurant on Charlotte St, Fitzrovia.
Dressing appropriately for weddings, baptisms, funerals, business meetings where dress is part of the agenda . . . how do these differ from entertainment where audience, ambience, and “performance” are expected to be “elevated” from the everyday? We once made the “mistake” of leaving behind a necktie in the hotel at the end of a long day’s business to accept a dinner invitation; in fact, we even left behind the suit jacket. It turned out that our host had selected a restaurant with a coat and tie policy. – no problem being ushered to the coatroom to select a generic blazer from a rack offering all sizes and to take a tie from a box full of solid maroon-colored cravatts. Dinner was just as delicious in the borrowed “costume” as it would have been in our own wardrobe…
I like that idea and it encapsulates my thoughts perfectly. I don’t get hung up about what I wear, I am equally comfortable in shorts and T-shirt as I am in a decent suit and tie, but I do like to dress for the occasion. Smart casual at a beach bar to me is as bad as shorts in a more formal setting.
I have no problem with restaurants that have dress codes and/or dress advice on their websites, it’s good information to help frame my restaurant choice, in fact I quite like the ones that have these rules (especially for the big birthdays and special occaisions). I do have an issue with a restaurant that has guidelines then lets any patron flout them as BA says it can affect the ambiance and as a result compromise my experience.
I don’t really care what anyone wears, but I find it odd that people need to rebel against these types of guidelines. I can just as easily express my personality and style in a suit and tie as I can in my shorts and T-shirt.
Your observation about the occasion is spot on. The “occasion” is the entirely of the restaurant – more than the cooking: it also embraces the operator’s investment in ingredients, decor, staff training and service standards, etc., etc.
Our earlier recounted faux pas in doffing tie and suit coat doubles your point – in our host’s mind, we were worthy of being his guest at a restaurant that proudly published and resolutely adhered to a dress code that it was prepared to make available to all comers . . . the code was not honoured in the breach.
Completely agree. For an “occasion”, it’s the full experience that matters.
We did the Fat Duck for my 60th and Le Manoir for the 65th. And the Waterside for the 40th wedding anniversary. All good experiences.
We also did Lords of the Manor for Mrs H’s 60th - lovely hotel but disappointing dinner (service much poorer than you’d expect in this style of Michelin place) - rather spoiled it. On the way home, we had lunch at another Michelin place - Mallory Court near Leamington. Faultless meal. Yet it’s Mallory that lost its star.