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Turning tables


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Are most of the fine dining restaurants trying to turn tables in one evening?

If so, it is very frustrating trying to get a booking for 7pm having been told they need the table back at 9pm. Then they say you can't have the degustation menu because there is not enough time.

So how do you get a booking for 7 or 8pm? is there a trick? do you have to waive loads of money at them and book both time slots?

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Are most of the fine dining restaurants trying to turn tables in one evening?

If so, it is very frustrating trying to get a booking for 7pm having been told they need the table back at 9pm. Then they say you can't have the degustation menu because there is not enough time.

So how do you get a booking for 7 or 8pm? is there a trick? do you have to waive loads of money at them and book both time slots?

I've seen it at a few places recently, Arbutus being one, but i didn't mind because we finished well before they needed the table back and at a restaurant like that i guess you have to expect it.

But not being able to have the degustation menu? That's very annoying!! What was the restaurant?

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I took a 9pm at Hibiscus on Monday- but there was no problem with having the tasting menu at that time. I like eating late, I really don't understand the obsession with eating at 8 o'clock. Its the same every week- its like a bus pulls up outside at 8 o'clock on the dot and the world piles in, be they booked in for 7.30 " sorry we're running late" or 8.30 "we thought we would come a bit early" or even 9pm "gosh are we booked at 9?". AGGHHH.

Sorry just getting over an evil Saturday night. I'll be less bitter in the morning!!

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You had an evil Saturday night? We had over-stimulated 'celebs' getting into fights.

I don't understand why, if you're booking for 7, you would expect the restuarant to then have an empty table for the last two hours of service. Things, I agree, should be different when doing a tasting menu (after all, they're usually substantially more expensive), but places have to make money.

Though I'm with Erica on this one. I like eating late, and at LCS, RHR and PEtrus a 10 or 10-30 booking means seeing the waiters more relaxed and usually being turned out on to the streets at 1 in the morning. Much more fun, and less stuffy.

Otherwise lunchtime for a tasting menu is lovely. LIke leaving a cinema and it still being light, leaving a fine dinerie in mid-afternoon (smoking ban meaning one can't stay in the bar area until well into the next sitting as used to be the case at Anthony's) gives the rest of the day a slightly distant warm glow.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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I took a 9pm at Hibiscus on Monday- but there was no problem with having the tasting menu at that time. I like eating late, I really don't understand the obsession with eating at 8 o'clock.

Well we do like eating earlier so when we ate at Hibiscus they had given us a time limit but they were still happy to do the tasting menu within that time.

I wouldn't like to be told at the time of ordering that I couldn't choose from a particular menu because there was insufficient time: if they told me when booking then that might be acceptable, but if I thought I might want the tasting menu then I would go elsewhere.

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We always eat late so this has never been an issue. Quite simply, I would never accept a reservation that had an exit time stipulated. I can understand the practice if the restaurant is offering an early evening menu at a reduced price.

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We always eat late so this has never been an issue.  Quite simply, I would never accept a reservation that had an exit time stipulated.  I can understand the practice if the restaurant is offering an early evening menu at a reduced price.

My thoughts exactly. I normally eat late also but on this occasion we preferred to start earlier. I've cancelled with them and now have a booking at Le Manior, report to follow soon.

I have also been "unlucky" at Bacchus, we wanted the degustation menu, ordered at 9.30 and we told we were too late. At no time were we told there was a cut off time.

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We always eat late so this has never been an issue.  Quite simply, I would never accept a reservation that had an exit time stipulated.  I can understand the practice if the restaurant is offering an early evening menu at a reduced price.

Or if they're fitting you in last minute to a restaurant that's fully booked later on?

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The problem is money, pure and simple.If you need to take more to cover escalating costs, then you can put up your prices , reduce quality, or do more people.I am doing the odd resit myself these days , but these tables are 6pm, resist at 9pm.If you don't want to eat that early or late, then fine and dandy.But if i'm fully booked otherwise, what else can i do? Hike the prices by 20%? The public seem to think that fully booked restaurants are making a bomb as it is.Here's a newsflash, some aren't!

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We always eat late so this has never been an issue.  Quite simply, I would never accept a reservation that had an exit time stipulated.  I can understand the practice if the restaurant is offering an early evening menu at a reduced price.

My thoughts exactly. I normally eat late also but on this occasion we preferred to start earlier. I've cancelled with them and now have a booking at Le Manior, report to follow soon.

I have also been "unlucky" at Bacchus, we wanted the degustation menu, ordered at 9.30 and we told we were too late. At no time were we told there was a cut off time.

At what level, price wise per person, would you "accept a reservation that had an exit time stipulated" or is such indignanty supreme. I only ask as I can think of plenty of amazing restaurants that you will might miss because of said policy.

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I only ask as I can think of plenty of amazing restaurants that you will might miss because of said policy.

Surely, so long as you can wait for a day on which there's a 8pm-8.30pm reservation available, there should never be any need to have tables turned on you (except in chinatown, some chains, etc...)

I have also been "unlucky" at Bacchus, we wanted the degustation menu, ordered at 9.30 and we told we were too late.

well unlucky, as they've no a la carte!! (I take it they did at the time... :)

Ian

I go to bakeries, all day long.

There's a lack of sweetness in my life...

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I think price is a factor here, at least for me. If I am paying £50+ for three courses, I don't want to feel hurried or pressurised into having to finish and vacate, particularly if the time slot is a maximum of two hours. Obviously there are others who don't mind this arrangement and, from the restaurant's point of view, it's financially unrealistic to serve only one sitting, especially at busy times. I just think two hours is a little ungenerous, maybe two and a half or three would be better. If I'm eating at my local Italian cafe, this isn't an issue as, generally, I will be in and out within a couple of hours.

Incidentally, are there any restaurants left that still do two formal sittings for dinner? I seem to recall this used to be a not uncommon practice at one time.

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The Square.

They had a table available at 7pm to be returned by 9pm.

Or they can do 9pm???

the square doesn't turn tables as a matter of course.

we had the degustation (flipping marvellous) last wednesday on a 7:30 table.

that all sounds odd, perhaps you were unlucky with who you spoke to?

they can certainly hammer out a degustation in 2 hours.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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