Love going out to eat? Who doesn’t? From thinking about the new or favorite cuisine you like to try and heading into a restaurant that’s teeming with ambiance and atmosphere, fine dining is a luxury that anyone deserves for whatever reasons.
Recreate a complete fine dining experience at home with some choice decor, a new dining location, and some plating and serving tips.
Most people love dining out to reward themselves after a long day at work. Some dine out and enjoy a complete fine dining experience to celebrate a milestone: birthday, anniversary, promotion, and other life achievements. For those who can truly afford it, they dine out because it is a necessary break from prepping and cooking meals at home, and washing the dishes, pots, and pans when it’s over.
However, it can be hard to find even a complete fine dining experience enjoyable nowadays, especially in these extraordinary times. Moreover, dining out with friends and family is either restrictive or no longer possible for now in favor of the health and safety guidelines in place. And for most of us Filipinos, dining out without key members of the family can be such a downer.
But did you know that you can have a fine dining experience without ever leaving the house? While nothing can take the place of having a night out in your favorite restaurant, it’s really not that hard to replicate the luxurious experience at home alone or with all the people you love present. Check out our tips on how to achieve an authentic, complete fine dining experience in the comfort and safety of your home.
Fine dining experience Tips
A fine dining atmosphere is best experienced in an Italian-inspired luxury home with architectural details that instantly sets the ambience.
1. First, create an atmosphere.
When you think about your favorite high-end restaurant, what is the first thing that comes to mind? The atmosphere, especially if it is worth taking selfies in and sharing on social media. Moreover, when you pay a lot of money for a luxurious meal, you will also expect that your surroundings speak for themselves as well.
If you plan to have a fine dining experience during the day, take advantage of your poster window and sunlight. Go out and set up your dining table and chairs on your balcony or your garden. If you have a roof deck, much better – you’ll have a great vantage point while you enjoy scrumptious dishes. Make sure though that if you do decide to literally dine outside, you have enough shelter to protect yourself from the harsh rays of the sun. Otherwise, you can schedule it during twilight or near sundown.
If the weather isn’t that great, don’t worry. You can always set it up indoors. While it is normal to set it up in your dining room, how about setting a dining area in your living room near the fireplace? If you don’t have one, you can recreate a fireplace using a video loop.
A fine dining experience must also feel intimate. So instead of going for your dining set, why not use a smaller table and a couple of your favorite chairs? Dress them up further with some fancy sheets like silk or velvet and some small accent pillows.
To improve the atmosphere, surround your dining area with beautiful things like artwork or plants. Block obvious areas like your stove, kitchen sink, or your bathroom door so as not to disrupt the atmosphere.
2. Recreate the mood with ample lighting.
One thing that makes the fine dining experience enjoyable is the level of illumination. Too often, dining rooms tend to be very bright. As such, the harsh fluorescent lights are not a great choice for fine dining. Take advantage of your stand lamp, mood lamp, and other lighting fixtures that can cast a warm glow in your fine dining area. If you do not have any other lighting options, bust out your Christmas lights and string them up under gauzy or see-through curtains, or if outdoors, over your dining area for a soft yet magical feel.
If you have to use candles, do so responsibly and use sturdy candleholders to prevent accidents. Otherwise, you can opt for the LED candles, which can also give a similar effect.
3. Liven it up with music.
Restaurants not only appeal to your sense of sight and smell, but they also appeal to the rest of your senses, like your sense of hearing. Play classical or jazz music to recreate a sophisticated mood in your dining area. If you are not into any of the two genres, make sure that your music shouldn’t be too loud or too busy that it can be hard to carry out a conversation. The music should also be calming and relaxing enough that it does not invite you to dance to the beat.
If you do not know where to start, there are playlists available on music streaming platforms and even on YouTube already curated for you to play it.
One of the most important factors that decide the elegance of a fine dining experience is your table arrangement.
4. Pay attention to your dining table arrangement.
The fine dining experience starts the moment you sit down at the table. As such, your table should look sophisticated, elegant, and bountiful.
A fine dining table starts with a fresh flower arrangement. You can opt to order a bouquet of fresh flowers. If you don’t have one, you can opt for a fake one or a small potted plant that looks flowery and lively. You can replicate the aroma by using scented candles or a diffuser. Just make sure though that the aroma does not overpower the smell of your dishes. Make sure also that your flower or plant arrangement is small enough that it does not block the line of sight.
Your flower or plant arrangement should also match the rest of the table decor. However, the rest of the table decor should highlight, and not eclipse the table linens and the rest of the china. Keep it simple by using flat white linens. They are classic and timeless and are the perfect choice in all fine-dining restaurants. If you do not have enough linens, you can use top-quality white paper napkins, for example, as substitutes.
5. Bust out your good fine china.
It wouldn’t be a complete fine dining experience if not for good plates. Moreover, it is a perfect time to get them out of whatever decorative hutch or cupboard you put them in.
As mentioned earlier, it is a rule of thumb that everything on your dining table should match to a certain degree. For example, the dominant colors of your flower arrangement or potted plant should also show in some of your china.
As to what type of china you should use, your china should complement the food you are serving. For example, choose a large, simple white plate for the main courses. To level up your food display, use square plates. If you are serving soup, use a large white bowl.
Also, serve in individual servings. Except for food items for sharing like bread and dip, keep the rest of the food away from the dining table.
Surprise your guests with the luxury of showing off your fancy glasswares.
6. Use sparkly and fancy glassware and cutlery.
Do away with your favorite mug and spork. Now is the time that you also bring out your good glassware and cutlery well kept from their boxes.
Whether you are drinking or not, it makes sense to use nice glassware to celebrate the occasion. Moreover, make sure that you have dedicated glassware for each liquid: one for your iced water and one for either juice, flavored drink, wine, or champagne. Make sure that your glassware has no cracks, scratches, or buffs.
Apply also the same set of standards with the cutlery. Even if you use stainless steel, watch out for blemishes and other imperfections that might diminish the fine dining illusion. Remember, the key to fine dining is perfection and beauty in detail. If you need to give them good dishwashing and polishing, go ahead and do it before you use them.
If you do plan to cook them yourself and it is of no bother to you, make sure that you get the best, freshest ingredients. Prep ahead and employ a few meal prep hacks that will save you tons of time. This way, you do not slave so much time over a meal. And while the result may not be similar to how it is served in your favorite fine dining restaurant, there is no doubt that you’ll pull it off and enjoy the process of making it at the same time.
But if you are not confident in your cooking skills, or prefer not to slave in the kitchen, do not worry – there are food delivery services that can deliver your fine dining favorites to your doorstep.
Enjoy the vast views of the European countryside at Crosswinds while dining on all-day breakfast favorites at Cafe Voi La. Image by Cafe Voi La / Zomato
On the other hand, make sure that you transfer your food and plate them in a way how fine-dining chefs prepare them.
Here are some key tips:
1. Instead of the center, place the focal point of your dish to either the left or right side of the plate. This way, you can showcase your food as if the rim of your plate is a picture frame.
2. If you are serving more than one food item, plate it like a clock from the diner’s point of view. This means proteins like meat should be placed between 3 and 9 o’clock. Starch and carbohydrates like pasta or bread should be placed between 9 and 12 o’clock. Veggies, on the other hand, occupy between 12 to 3 o’clock.
3. Avoid overcrowding your plate with food. Keep one food item, preferably your proteins, as the focal point.
4. Place moist food items first, or serve them on a different plate. This way, any moisture or liquid will not ruin the taste and texture of the other food items you are serving.
5. If you are serving more than one dish, another creative way to serve them all together is by creating flavor bites or spoonfuls of food items served on one plate. Following the rule of thirds, place three spoons, each full of a menu item, on a serving plate.
6. Add some texture to your dishes. For example, you can add fried minced garlic or toasted nuts on creamy carbonara or mashed potatoes.
7. When serving finger food or appetizers, serve in odd quantities to make it look like you are serving more food without overcrowding the plate.
8. Add color diversity to your meals. You can do so via green leafy vegetables or edible floral garnishes.
9. Wanted to replicate that smeared sauce technique? Get a squeeze bottle and fill it with your sauce. If you don’t have one, you can get a small, clear plastic bag and cut a small hole. Then squeeze a thick layer of sauce in a large, filled-in circle on your plate, place the back of the spoon in the middle where the sauce is the thickest, and quickly pull across the plate’s surface. You can also use the same squeeze bottle or bag to place accent dots all over your plate.
10. When plating, less is always more. Keep your garnishes to a minimum.
11. Avoid using unappetizing or pungent garnishes like raw herbs, large chunks of citrus, and anything with a strong odor.
To cap off a complete fine dining experience, your drinks should be paired with the right wine or drinks. If you do not prefer alcohol, you can choose bubbly alternatives like sparkling water, ginger ale, or apple cider.
Preparing a fine dining event at your luxury home is an experience in itself.
Stay Safe and Fine Dine at Home
There are many things that you can do to achieve a complete fine dining experience at home. Even if you have done all things and prepared everything, do remember that fine dining is also a state of mind. Take it all in, enjoy the experience at your own pace, and have a fantastic time alone or with your loved ones. Also, you have the option to leave the dishes in the sink and tend to them later. After all, you are in your own home and have all the time and luxury to do things. Just make sure that you put leftovers away and rinse all the dishes, pots, and pans you use so you would not have a hard time cleaning them the next day.
Love our fine dining at home tips? Stay tuned to this site for more ideas about living a luxurious life at home.