Why is eating out special?

If you pay a visit to Diana Hotel most days of the week, then you’ll discover a bustling restaurant. Many of those dining with us are guests who are staying overnight at the hotel, but we’re also fortunate to be joined by visitors who are simply enjoying the experience of a meal out.

We’ve spent many years refining what we’re able to offer in the restaurant, priding ourselves on the ability to provide beautiful food in a charming setting. This helps to explain, we think, why the restaurant is so popular. But we’re always aware that this taps into a wider thought about the sheer pleasure of eating out. Why is is that so many of us enjoy eating out so much?

When we try to break down the various reasons why individuals take pleasure from dining out, we believe that it’s possible to isolate a number of elements. They begin, of course, with the food. When eating out, most of us want to enjoy food that reaches a level of preparation and presentation that we don’t experience all of the time. This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that the food must be “fussy”.

The finest restaurants in the world tend to have one thing in common: they work with fantastic ingredients. That’s very much part of our own philosophy too and it reflects a primary truth in cooking: simple ingredients, prepared with care can provide a beautiful meal that often seems to be greater than the sum of its parts. So we can say that part of the dining experience should be about eating great food.

What about the variety of food that’s on offer? We certainly believe that it needs to be varied, ensuring that there is something for everyone. Dietary requirements clearly need to be taken into account and all of our menus include a full range of vegan options, for example. But that’s really just the beginning: the menu should ideally tempt you, sometimes into trying dishes that you might not previously have envisaged. Part of the eating out experience is about adventure and the restaurant needs to cater for that.

Being served at the table is also something that we often enjoy, but it needs to be done correctly. When you pay to dine out, you are (in part) paying to have someone else cook, do the washing up and generally clean up after you. You’re also expecting to have your food brought to your table. You may have your own ideas about what great service looks like. For our part, we usually train our team in a method that we like to think is efficient and professional, without being intrusive. The service should be friendly, but our team are encouraged to think carefully about how our guests are interacting with them.

Surroundings are also important. Most people, when eating out, are looking for a relaxing environment. They may want some form of entertainment (possibly including live music, for example) but intrusions in this area again need to be avoided. Seating should be comfortable and tables must be large enough to allow for plates, glasses and additional extras to be spread out in a suitable manner.

What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear what you feel makes dining out so special.