I blame ‘Restaurant Man’ Russell Norman. He started it, with his vellum menus of crinkly fonts and low lighting. It was in his Polpo restaurant in 2009 that I first saw someone using a mobile phone screen to illuminate an otherwise illegible menu. That was nearly five years ago, and since then, the manufacturers of brown paper for menus must be thanking the day they went wholemeal.
The hipster menu is a trend we’re all better of without, yet it’s fast becoming the norm to witness customers holding menus before their noses, angled to the light sources, and then eventually succumbing to their phones to shed light on the matter in hand. Recent culprits include: Barnyard, Cat & Mutton, Bonnie Gull Seafood Café, 5CC at Harrild & Sons… I could go on. So, listen up, restaurateurs: if you want people to enjoy your food, print menus we can read – and don’t turn the lights down so low we can’t even tell what we’re eating. You need to lighten up, just a bit. Guy Dimond
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