Packed restaurants have not been a problem during the corona pandemic. However, once life returns to normal, hopefully the restaurants will be able to fill their tables again. And when it happens, the acoustics may prove a challenge – especially if acoustic control has not been incorporated in the design.
The sound of clanging plates, background din and being unable to avoid hearing what is being said at neighbouring tables. These are all factors that can ultimately cost a star when food critics have to describe their impressions from a restaurant visit in a newspaper column.
Even though food, wine and service have the highest priority on a food critic’s checklist, the acoustics and sound levels are an increasingly important factor for the overall dining experience, says Morten Vilsbæk. He is a food writer for the Danish online news media Avisen Danmark, which is part of the media group Jysk Fynske Medier. At the same time, he’s a member of the Danish food critics’ association Danske Madanmeldere.
“Acoustics and atmosphere are part and parcel of eating out. But it is all about finding the right balance. If the room is not designed to prevent noise from other guests disturbing a discussion around a table, then it’s problem. On the other hand, it mustn’t be so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. This can suck the life out of a restaurant visit. Both my colleagues and I primarily focus on the raw ingredients and food preparation, but if there are poor acoustics, it is mentioned in the review,” says Morten Vilsbæk.