TABLE FOR ONE

Let’s face it, it can be awkward!

Eating out alone can be an incredibly daunting prospects and it took me an exceptionally long time (I’m talking years) to become fully comfortable with the act.

Eating is one of those activities, which is best shared. This has been true in the annals of food, and I think it is fair to say across food cultures around the world.

So, when I found myself in Bombay, trying to navigate a new, yet familiar city, trying to bring semblance and routine to an otherwise topsy-turvy life, I decided to check out the ever-changing food scene in the city.

“Table for one, Ma’am?” I get this question a lot.

Though I love dining with family and friends (colleagues will be next once I get a job), its often not possible to line up schedules with them due to their work demands and other family/friend commitments. So, my question to myself was, why can’t I go solo?

Cafes and smaller casual restaurants welcome solo diners happily and willingly. But what I have found is many of the ‘pricier’ restaurants try to avoid giving tables to lone diners and might offer you a seat at their bar and hurry you along. (One of the current ‘it’ restaurants in Bombay refused to book a table for two when I called, table for one is out of the question I guess).

What restaurants need to realise is that when there is someone asking for a TABLE FOR ONE it’s the ultimate compliment. Why? I am choosing to be at the restaurant to try and food and the experience. I did not come as part of a cackle of friends, nor did I come because I had a meeting or was dragged there. I chose to dine at the restaurant for the food, and the food alone.

However, for a long time, I didn’t like sitting across from an empty chair. I would spend most of the meal looking around nervously to see if people were staring at me, eat as quickly and leave without some much as a casual chatter with the restaurant staff. It has taken me years to realise that there is an art to eating alone and I want to use this platform to shift your thinking for a minute – from being embarrassed to empowered, from lonely to alone (by choice), far from the maddening crowd to some self-care.

Which is why I am introducing this new segment on my blog which I hope will encourage more people to take their first tentative step of asking for a TABLE FOR ONE.