The nuances of fine dining

The nuances of fine dining

Eat, drink, enjoy. Dressing up a table is as important as dressing up your food. Natasha Menezes tells us how a well-dressed table can add to the fun of fine dining.

Do you know the difference between eating and dining? 

While eating can be done anytime and anywhere since it does not really follow any rules, dining is an art form that goes by the rules to add culinary as well as visual delight. 

You will notice the difference to your satiation the moment you sit at a fine dine restaurant for instance. 
 
Along with the tasty food, there is also a sense of equilibrium in the surroundings of the table that conjure up to the satisfaction levels of your palate. 

So dressing up a table is as important as dressing up your food. It makes the occasion even more loved. 

Although we have seen large amounts of gatherings that are uber-cool and casual, there is still a lot of fun involved in designing a great tablescape. 

It doesn’t require a design degree to dress up a dinner table and neither does it require a lot of money. 

So let’s break down the alchemy of a perfect table decor in simple and ready to use tips. 

Usually a separate dining table area is preferred, but if you don’t have one, don’t fret.

Not everyone has the space to add another piece of lesser-used furniture like the dining table set. 
 
You can create a dining area just about anywhere you desire. 
 
All you need is a neat tablecloth, some table mats, napkins, a centrepiece and finally the cutlery. 
 
Just make sure to extend the motifs you are using for your table into other areas of your room to bring in symmetry. 
 
For example, if you are placing candles on your table, place them in the other areas of your room as well. 
 
Or you can repeat the same colours in different places of the room. 

Symmetry

You don’t need expensive bone china to make your dinner table look fancy. 
 
That is simply no guarantee for a great tablescape. What is actually needed is symmetry. By this, it does not mean that you should add just one design throughout.
 
Feel free to mix and match designs in alternate arrangements or in repeated patterns.

The rest of the table can be pulled together with your tablecloth, centrepiece and candles. 

Textiles or paper
 
There are different types of textiles to use for any given table setting, namely table cloth, table mats and napkins. 

The table cloth is the first place to start while designing your table. 
 
When you have a beautiful table to show off, you may decide to use place mats instead.
 
 These can be made of jute, cloth and can be plain or patterned, but they must be heat proof. If your table is damaged, then you can drape a table cloth over it. 

The cloth must be long enough to cover six inches on either side of the table. 
 
You can use plain white table cloth or even lace and patterned ones. 
 
Alternately, if you do not want to invest in a table cloth, you can use a plain sheet of brown paper  that will add a neutral style to the dressing.

Next are napkins. 
 
You can fold them up into triangular cones and place them in the water glass on the right, the side plate on the left or on the dinner plate in the centre. 
 
Cutlery

A team from the University of Oxford claims that food tastes are influenced by the shape, size, weight and colour of the cutlery. 
 
For example, cheese is saltier when eaten with a knife rather than a fork while white spoons make yogurt taste better and sweeter. 

So choosing the right kind of cutlery will only up the ante of your dish’s demeanor. 
 
While setting your table for seating, make sure to follow this rule; forks are placed on the left, spoons and knives on the right. 
 
The placement is in the order of their use from outside to inside that is,  farther away from the plate to nearer the plate. Knife blades must always turn inwards towards the plate. 

Speciality flatware like shellfish forks or dessert spoons should be brought out with the food or can be placed at the top of the plate, horizontally.
 
Small plates must go to the left of the place setting before serving its accompanying first course. 
 
If there is one glass, place it at the tip of the main-course knife on the right. If there are two or more glasses, arrange them in order of their use — from outside to inside. 

White plates and bowls have a traditional look and they make your plating look interesting. 
 
Experiment on the shape and size. You can mix different rectangular and oval shapes and sizes on your table. 

Magical centrepiece

Make the centre of your table a masterpiece of design. |

Experiment with flowers, dried leaves, crystal bowls filled with candy or a big glass bowl adorned with shells or herbs.
 
If your tableware is relatively neutral, you can spice it up with centrepieces that will give it a retro, classical, contemporary or bohemian look. Some ready to use items from your home include:

Cans or jars: You can double these containers into vases that will hold your entire cutlery or flower arrangement. 
 
Flowers: They can be picked up from your own garden or even from the roadside and placed in aesthetic vessels. 

Unscented candles: Long candles with English styled candle-stands can add some drama to your table. Tea-lights kept in small jars on the other hand can give coziness.
 
Whatever size candle you might use, make sure they are unscented, so as not to interfere with the sensual delight of the food. 

Fruits: If everything else fails, try a mix of coloured fruits of all shapes and sizes neatly decorated over a large glass plate or bowl. 
 
Whatever piece of item you choose to place on the mantle, make sure they are below the eye level of your guests or mounted on tall stands above the eye level, so as not to block out the guests seated on the opposite sides of the table. 

Place cards
 
Last but not the least, buy thick card paper and cut into small equal dimensions. 
 
Write the name of each dish in neat calligraphy and place them in front of the dish on the table to avoid ambiguity. 
 
It will also add fun to the table. 
 
You can buy plain or textured paper for this. 

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