Sunday, 28 October 2007


The only problem with dining in exclusive posh restaurants is that it’s so damn quiet in there you can hear an egg crack in the kitchen and the Superior couple two tables away from you.
Superiors are a new breed of diner who recently emerged out of the mating of the nouveau riche and the fashionably challenged. When those two bred they produced a person who by necessity must dine in exclusive posh restaurants to illustrate their wealth, a trait inherited from their nouveau riche parent, and they must clothe themselves in ridiculous clothes simply because they have a label and cost a lot. Early Superiors dined at Number 5 and wore Trelise Cooper. Superiors these days dine at Dine and wear something obtained on their last trip to Paris in “one of those gorgeous designer boutiques in the Marais.”
Superiors are easy to spot in any restaurant as they adopt one of two positions. The first is a cool, cold gaze at their surroundings which says “I really can’t believe I’ve been forced to leave my world and join yours.” They sit in perfect silence as they wait for a perceived insult to occur. The second comes a mere 10 seconds later as the perceived insult is leapt on like a starving dog and kick starts and exhausting session of eye rolling, tittering and sighs.
My recent encounter with Superiors was something not only enjoyed by my table but the one next to it and the one next to that. We were all enormously entertained in our own private ways and reliant on each other to keep the collective group informed of the horrors taking place two tables away.
I was first alerted to the Superiors presence by the announcement of their waiter in a voice I felt was a little loud and possibly playing to his audience, which went something like:
“An offering from the kitchen by way of apology for the mistake with the asparagus!”
I paused momentarily as I munched through my asparagus, the first of the season, divine and perfectly presented.
The Superiors scowled, nibbled, then pushed their plates away.
We were there for our wedding anniversary. A particularly good one being the 10th but my attention was barely on my husband or his fond recollections of our honeymoon in Paris, something he likes to do on every anniversary (I was pregnant and too focussed on food to really be that romantic but I did cry at the Swan Lake.)
Instead I was drinking in the Superior woman. Short black hair perfectly styled to resemble Liza Minnelli in her early days. Crisp white shirt, something black, trim, stern and a few well placed pearls.
“She’s a lawyer,” I whispered to my husband as he was half way through his often told and engaging honeymoon story about the cheese. “Well he’s something intellectual or academic,” he jousted back. “Only intelligent men wear a pink striped shirt and get away with it.”
So there it was, the lawyer and the lecturer doing their best to have the worst night of their lives and pay $200 for the privilege.
We dined exquisitely, as always and every so often I could eavesdrop on my neighbours who, like us, spent most of the night commentating on the Superior table.
“She’s just sent back her glass of wine,” whispered the woman.
“But they’ve already drunk half the bottle!” replied the man.
In lesser restaurants we would have witnessed a meltdown by the staff. The chef storming out of the kitchen and giving them an ear full, the maitre D telling them to leave if they didn’t like it. But no. Dine and its staff kept on keeping on, even when Pink shirt asked that they bring him his jacket so that he could reach into the pocket and withdraw his stunning collection of platinum credit cards which he produced with a flourish. Apparently they can be made out of moon rock now.
And it was over. My husband gladly returned to his honeymoon stories but not before I had taken another look at my lawyer and seen the full extent of her outfit.
“She’s wearing a bloody curtain!” I shouted as my eyes took in the full splendour of her cream voluminous designer outfit making full use of the term “ruche” which had been hiding under the table all night.
I think she heard, because she threw a filthy look in our direction, but maybe she was wondering why the whole restaurant was in hysterics.

Image by Anthony Ellison

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