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Have you ever visited a fine dining restaurant and wondered which fork to use for your entrée, where you should place your napkin, and how to approach the restaurant’s vast menu? Here at Oracle Boulevard, we have a slew of wonderfully welcoming restaurants for you to visit, including Social Eating House, a casual fine dining restaurant that takes modern Australian flavours and blends them with a dose of elegance – it’s fine dining Gold Coast style!

So, to help us navigate the world of fine dining and prepare us for our next visit, we reached out to Social Eating House’s Dayne Cooper to give us her tips on how to nail fine dining etiquette.

How should diners use their napkins? When is it appropriate to place their napkins on their laps?

We place our guests’ napkins on their laps after their food has been ordered. We also carefully take notice of napkins that are dropped on the floor and must be replaced. Also, when our guests go to the restroom, we will refold and place their napkin back on their table setting for them.

How should diners approach their silverware? Where should they start if their table has multiple pieces of silverware or cutlery either side of their plates?

Traditionally you begin from the outside and work your way in. However, at Social Eating House, we set specific cutlery with each course for our guests.

How many different pieces of glassware are usually used during a meal? How should diners hold certain pieces of glassware?

Our tables are set with a water glass and a wine glass to begin with. We will change your glassware depending on the type of wine varietal that is ordered. You should hold your wine glass by the stem, as this ensures that the temperature of the wine is not interfered with and prevents any greasy fingerprint build up on your glass.

Is there a specific way you recommend diners enjoy your menu? Is there a particular order you recommend diners order their plates in or any dish pairings you’d recommend?

Social’s menu is designed to share, starting from snacks, small plates, large plates, sides, and then desserts.

We recommend beginning with a few snacks such as our lamb empanadas or our kingfish and tuna tartare sesame rice cracker, then moving onto a small plate like our sashimi of the day or our new quail dish: vadouvan spiced quail, cauliflower, hazelnut, cavalo nero.

Our signature large plate would have to be our 12-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder, served with cabbage slaw with a side of crispy chat potatoes and broccolini.

If you have a sweet tooth, our new addition to the menu is our coconut labneh with fresh mango, kaffir lime, passionfruit caramel, and coconut meringue — summer on a plate!

What’s one piece of fine dining etiquette you wish more people knew about?

The most important piece of fine dining etiquette for me would be to be respectful, considerate, and mindful of your surroundings — and thank your server!

Hospitality is not an easy job. We need to be extremely grateful for the skilled people in our industry because without them, restaurants like Social Eating House and Bar wouldn’t be what it is today.

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