There are some people who turn a perfectly pleasant café or restaurant, into a room duller than the FT’s last three pages. They tell you the same things over and over again, and it wasn’t interesting the first time. They think that a conversation solely involves you asking them questions, and them giving one dimensional answers. They’ll insist on going for a proper meal, always order three courses, and take an uncomfortably long time to chew.
You spend the night before brainstorming conversation topics, but you still know you’re in for a long night. Luckily there are a few options that could make the rendezvous a little less painful.
Teppanyaki is the Japanese technique of cooking on a big iron table. You sit round the table while the chef prepares your dinner right before your eyes – some of them even get you involved, meaning less chatting time with your dull companion. You’ll be able to say things like…
‘Look how fast he is at chopping’
‘I wonder how much sesame oil he gets through every evening’
‘Do you think it would be expensive to buy one of those tables?’
There are Teppanyaki restaurants all over the country, they can be a little pricey – however we can all agree you can’t put a price on shorter awkward silences.
South-east Asian food
The benefit of food from south-east Asia is that it’s served super fast and their desserts are generally not up to much. Busaba Eathai don’t even serve afters, which would be a terrible, terrible thing under any other circumstances.
Wagamama is also pretty speedy, and they tend to bring food out when it’s ready rather than courses, which can really help speed the evening along.
Somewhere with a view
Go somewhere high, or with a big window. This is where living in a city really helps, as most of the tallest buildings will have somewhere to eat. The Heron Tower and Sushisamba are both good options if you’re keen on somewhere with height.
These venues do come with a pricetag, so if you can’t afford somewhere high, a street view provides just as much conversation – especially on busy roads; a prime location for people watching. For Londoners, Kings Road is great for exceptionally posh people watching, which Broadway Market is the place to head for weird beards and funny clothes in general.
Unfortunately, boring people are for life, not just for Christmas – so hopefully you can now make a few simple, strategic decisions to make the best out of a bad situation.