We’ve had our fill of fussy fine dining | Jay Rayner

Why pay for a spotty teenager to ferret about in your lap with a napkin? The casual revolution has been a long time coming

Spare a thought for Britain’s high-end laundry businesses. For decades they have been able to rely on the restaurant trade for income; on those gilded gastro palaces, their chandeliered dining rooms laid with tablecloths so thick they could double as sails for ocean-going yachts. Now apparently, not so much. Chefs like Marcus Wareing have got rid of them; others, like Stephen Harris at the Michelin-starred Sportsman pub near Whitstable, never had them in the first place.

According to new research, 70% of diners have turned against the formal French style of service, and towards the clatter and ease of multiple plates on the table associated with, say, Spain. Fewer than 20% are interested in fine dining, that dread phrase with its pinkie forever cocked, which has always sounded as if it should be spelt with an extra vowel, as in faine daining. Now, we are all about casual.

Related: Michelin stars and pints in Whitstable

Why waste money on battalions of waiters just so one spotty teenager can ferret about in your lap with a napkin?

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