Reading, 9

You are going to read an article about lunching in a famous restaurant. Choose the most suitable heading from the list A-I for each part 1-7 of the article. There is one extra heading which you do not need to use. There is an example at the beginning (0).

A     Cross-cultural differences and table manners

B     An embarrassing event

C     They don’t get too close!

D     Lunching with celebrities

E     Take your time

F      Is it unique?

G     Time is money when you lunch at ‘The Ritz’

H     What to choose and what to avoid

I       Eat only what you know how  


0   D

“It is the prettiest room in London, and the most extravagant,” hotelier Giles Shepard looks around him with satisfaction. We are lunching at his place, The Ritz. To our left is Sir David English from Associated Newspapers. To our right is Max Hastings, editor of The Evening Standard. We are not only in one of the prettiest dining rooms in
London, but also in one with power and influence.

1 ______________

In a city full of bright new restaurants, where a new place to eat appears on a daily basis, the buzz of The Ritz dining room is interesting to behold. It is full of people. Business associates rub shoulders with ladies who lunch, socialites sit side by side with socialists. At least they would, if the tables were closer together. But this is one of The Ritz’s tricks. “We understand the need for privacy,” says Shepard. “There are not many things you can describe as luxurious these days, but privacy is one and space is another.”

2 ______________

From the comfortable seclusion of our table, we watch an American

party of eight  eating asparagus with their knives and forks.

“Extraordinary,” says Giles Shepard, “but they think it’s dreadful manners when we pick it up with our fingers. Another example of our different cultures, I fear!”

3 ______________

We discuss how important it is to choose food that does not embarrass you; food that won’t suddenly create some sort of terrible culture shock.

4 _____________

“Like artichokes,” said Shepard. “Not easy to eat. I was once seated beside a young lady at lunch, when an artichoke starter arrived. I thought I was being helpful when I mentioned in an abstract sort of way how to eat them. She insisted she knew what she was doing and downed each one whole. Sadly, she had to leave the table, presumably to extract each prickle from her throat.”

5 _____________

We agreed that artichokes are bad news in the how-to-do-it stakes. Others include asparagus, not even the Queen risks butter trickling down her chin or anything that contains a bone or shells. Lobster, of course, is impossible. The safest bet is a plate of smoked salmon followed by fillet steak.

6 _____________

I wonder if there is a general return of lunching in hotels, or is The Ritz alone in fashion? Shepard graciously mentions that there are other outstanding places throughout the capital, such as The Savoy. The Dorchester too, has a lot going for it, although the main restaurant is a little gloomy. The Oriental is much better and the food is wonderful. 

 7_______________ Nobody around us seems to be suffering from time constraints, and I notice that although we have sipped a little champagne while choosing our meals, eaten two courses, drunk double coffees and chatted non-stop, we have taken up a very reasonable hour-and-a half. “It’s part of the lunching secret,” agrees Mr Shepard. “Lunch is the best meal of the day because few of us can allow it to drag on. The fact that it takes place in daylight gives us a carefree moment in our day as well as being fun.”

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