British Fine Dining Etiquette Tips
Etiquette and Modern Manners
Do you know how to dine at a classy restaurant? If not, then read these tips so that your table manners are spot on.
The Table Setting
When you get to a fine restaurant the table will already be set up for you to enjoy your dinner. There will be forks for all courses on the left of the plate. These will be for your starter, main course and any savoury courses, unless oysters are part of the meal, in which case this will be set on the right.
You will also notice that your knives and soup spoons are set down on the right of the plate with all cutlery usually silverware being lined up neatly.
Above your forks and slightly to the left of the setting will be your bread plate and butter knife. On the righthand side above your knives you will find your water glass followed by any wine glasses set at a slight diagonal angle from the knives. The larger of the wine glasses is for red and the smaller for white.
You will often find your napkin either on your plate or set to the side. It may be folded into a decorative shape.
Holding your Cutlery
In formal dining we hold our knives and forks in our hands whilst eating. Your fork is held in your left hand and your knife in your right.
Holding your cutlery is simple. Balance both the knife and the fork on index fingers in the appropriate hands as stated above. Then simply wrap your fingers around the item, twisting your forearms and wrists until the fork prongs and blade of the knife are facing down. You may then reach your index fingers and thumbs out to secure the position. The finger resting on top of the knife or fork and the thumb at the side are used to keep it steady.
When you pause or break during a meal, it is important to set your cutlery down properly so that the waiting staff are able to see if you have finished or just breaking. You should make an upside down ‘V’ shape over your plate with your knife and fork. Always ensuring the blade and prongs are face down.
At the end of a meal, we place both the knife and fork together, with both handles resting on the plate in a 4 o’clock position on the plate. The prongs of the fork should be facing up and the blade of the knife facing the fork.
When eating, please pace yourself. We do not rush fine dining. Please break for a few moments every few mouthfuls.
The first thing we do after being seated at a restaurant is to place the napkin in our laps. Please follow the easy steps below to ensure you place it properly.
- Completely unfold your napkin. Then refold it in half creating a rectangle.
- The napkin should then be placed in the lap with the crease facing you.
- During your meal you may need to use your napkin. Bring the open end corner to the mouth, open it slightly to reveal the inner corner and dab (do not wipe) your mouth and face. Then simply close the corner back up and place back down ensuring all food stains are hidden within it.
- At any pint during the meal when you need to step away but are not finished simply pinch your napkin in the middle and place it on your seat. This shows the waitstaff that you have not finished and will be returning.
- When you have finished your meal do the same thing. Pinch the napkin in the middle and then place it to the left of your plate where your forks previously sat.
These easy and simple tips will have you sailing through any fine dining experience.