What happened to tablecloths in restaurants?
Once upon a time, setting a table was more like making a bed: Crisp, starched white linen, neatly pressed so that the crease lines were exactly parallel. A slip cloth, colour carefully chosen to tie in with the interior décor. Stiff, origami folded napkins, arranged to add a focal point of interest.
I remember how the glasses, cutlery and silver cruets sparkled against the brightness of the white cloths and the softness of the fabric. To me, table linen adds a sense of occasion and an element of glamour congruent to an overall elegant dining experience.
These days it’s all about rustic bleached wood and/or retro hard table top finishes with minimal table settings. I actively avoid going to high-end restaurants with this style of décor as I find the overall effect somewhat harsh, flat and cold.
But, it leaves me wondering, am I just old fashioned? Should I embrace the modern world with its minimum table settings and just get on and enjoy the food? Or, is the minimal table decor actually not so much a fashion created by customers but merely the norm adopted by restaurateurs who see the massive cost benefits of the 'less is more' approach?