Michelin Star Dining. That a tire manufacturer would define THE rating system for fine dining is suspect – until you hear the definition of the ratings. 1-star means that it’s a very good restaurant. 2-stars means the restaurant is worth a detour and 3-stars means it’s worth a special trip.
Out of 690 restaurants listed – there are only 2 Michelin 3-starred restaurants in all of Greater London! I’ve eaten at 1-star, 2-star, but never 3-star restaurants over the course of my travel career. I’ve always found these places to be uptight and the dining experience to be about as relaxing as sleeping on a bed of nails (if you don’t happen to be a trained yogi). But of course, never able to resist the temptation of an almost impossible to obtain reservation, I found myself trying once more.
I got lured in with a friend to a 2-star restaurant in the English countryside. He had heard that it was difficult to get into, and that always drags me in. So my two cents on 2-star places – it’s a lot of fluffing around. It’s all about foam and froth and portions that are so complicated that you hate to put them in your mouth. It’s not that I like a starter and a main course and a dessert; I actually enjoy several appetizers and sometimes skip the main course. And I like presentation but it almost feels that I’m intruding on somebody else’s domain. They call it “plating” and it’s not so much about eating as it is about art. Much like the haute couture that makes its way down Parisian runways, this food is inedible by the commoners. It’s about savoring tiny tastes, complementing wines to courses, and I realize that I’m just not up for that kind of eating. I get that the chef took a lot of time to prepare this stuff. And most of it was delicious. But all the pomp, it just seemed to get in the way of the circumstance, if you know what I mean!
Food in the end should be inviting – it should be enjoyed. I guess the whole Michelin star experience is too formal for me, too much about the chemical, and not so much about the chemistry of a restaurant. The ambience and the waiters are too uptight, the sommelier is too disapproving. Yah I’m glad I returned to the high class star experience just one more time to remind myself that it’s just too good for me. I’m just too much of a common guy to truly appreciate the complexity of the stuff that’s placed in front of me. I would’ve been just as happy with a pork pie or a bacon sandwich. Or a very lovely piece of Dover Sole. Oh well, I know my place.
If you can’t resist the idea of Michelin Star dining – here are Ten Michelin Star Restaurants an Hour from London.