Food news: Restaurant manners
Christmas is coming and the tables are getting booked, so it's a good time to think about restaurant manners. And I'm not talking about whether it's OK to put your elbows on the table (in my opinion, it is) or whether your soup spoon should travel away from or towards you across the bowl (away).
The weeks between now and the end of the year are when restaurants make the bulk of their money, the turnover that will see them and their staff through the dark days of January when everyone hibernates and eats kale and quinoa.
And November and December are when all the people who never go out to eat the other 10 months of the year suddenly find themselves struck by a desperate urge to catch up with all the old friends that they haven't seen since... this time last year.
For restaurants, good manners at this time of year means keeping a few tables in reserve for loyal customers who may not have planned as far ahead as Declan from marketing, who was astute enough to have booked the December 23, 3pm lunch sitting for 20 at the hottest restaurant in town back in January. (That's why Declan is in marketing.) It means not letting standards drop just because it's Christmas, and not gouging customers on the price of their lunch.
For customers, good manners mean showing up when you say you are going to. It means not booking two alternative tables and deciding at the last minute which one you're going to use. And it means not baulking when a restaurant asks for a credit card number to secure a minimum charge per head in case you and your pals decide to stay in the pub.
It also means being polite to restaurant staff, who are going to be exhausted come the middle of December and still have another 10 days to go. It means forgoing the elective dietary requirements. It means picking up the wrapping paper from your Kris Kindle and refraining from singing. It means tipping generously, and not asking for split bills. And it means knowing when it's time to go home.
FOWL PLAY THANKSGIVING
Fowl Play is hosting a BBQ-style Thanksgiving event with NFL on the screens on November 24. Dinner will feature 'smoked turkey, sweet potato mash, green beans, stuffin muffins, frize salad and gamey gravy'. Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org or (01) 662-4473
DINING AT DELA
Dela in Galway's West End is supplied with herbs, vegetables and salad from its own farm. Sharing plates are a speciality, and the two-course early bird is priced at €22. The braised pork belly and breaded pig cheek with celeriac and apple slaw is something of a signature dish.