Letter from the editor: Eating out - the new theatre

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The Independent Online

One or two readers have pointed out, politely of course, that our feature yesterday on Heston Blumenthal’s new restaurant was a little rich for their taste.

The rather self-consciously named Dinner (“I’m off to have lunch at Dinner” doesn’t quite work for me) is indeed an exclusive (and pretty expensive) option next time you feel like cod cheeks with pickled beetroot and fennel.

I can understand, too, that readers in, say, Barnsley or Barnstaple may not have found it terribly useful to be recommended a restaurant in the middle of Knightsbridge. But eating out these days has become more like theatre (particularly true in this case, what with Heston roasting pineapples on a clockwork spit), and we wouldn’t desist from reviewing a play simply because it was at the Royal Court.

We strive to make sure our paper is not too London-centric, but the fact is that the cutting edge of British gastronomy is in the capital (and don’t write in from Ludlow, Cartmel or Padstow: I know you have fine restaurants there, too) and we are sure you’d want to know what’s a la mode, even if you’re less than likely to sample 72-hour beef with smoked anchovy and onion puree.

Sure, dinner at Dinner is expensive (you can easily pay the equivalent of a package holiday), but then some of the items on our style page, or even in the 10 Best, are outside the range of many readers. Yet we luxuriate in reading about holidays we’ll never go on or homes we’ll never afford. It’s called escapism. Also, now you’ve got a newspaper that costs only 20p, you might be able to save enough money to afford someof these pleasures.

Bon appetit! See you on Monday.