Food, wine and service are at the top of any food critic’s checklist, but poor acoustics and a noisy atmosphere can drag down the overall assessment of a first-class restaurant. Domestic, the Aarhus-based Michelin restaurant, has made good acoustics part of the experience. Troldtekt A/S is celebrating the award of Nordic Michelin stars in Aarhus by presenting a guide to restaurants with good acoustics on the menu.
Danish restaurants serve top-class food and wine – and several of them will again be awarded Michelin stars when these are distributed next week. A number of dining venues have also made good acoustics part of the experience – and for good reason. Noise and acoustics affect how food tastes, according to international research.
A dinner with subdued sound as a pleasant backdrop is music to a food critic’s ears. Morten Vilsbæk reports that there is an increasing focused on how acoustics and sound levels affect an otherwise perfect evening at a good restaurant. He is food editor and wine writer for Avisen Danmark, and former chairman of the Danish food critics’ association.
“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 a 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. My colleagues and I focus primarily on the food ingredients and preparation, but if there are poor acoustics, this will be mentioned in the review,” says Morten Vilsbæk.
Restaurant Domestic in Aarhus was awarded a coveted Michelin star by the French restaurant guide in 2017 and 2018. There is therefore much anticipation ahead of this year’s ‘Michelin Guide Nordic Countries 2019’ awards, to be held in Aarhus on 18 February. At Domestic, the restaurant’s furnishings and acoustic environment are key ingredients in the recipe for retaining the star. Acoustic ceilings from Troldtekt A/S have been installed to reduce noise.
“The food and wine are central, of course, but it is very important for the overall experience that the room is pleasant to be in. We have been very conscious of the furniture and colour palette, and have acoustic ceilings throughout the restaurant. A low reverberation time means that customers can hear what we say when we present the food. We do not have to shout when we talk to them. This is vital if they are to have a good experience of our service,” says Christian Neve, co-owner and waiter at Domestic.
“The good acoustics are something many patrons comment on. They are pleased that they cannot hear the conversations at neighbouring tables, because intimacy barriers are broken when you hear other people’s conversations. Good acoustics also mean that neither patrons nor staff leave the restaurant feeling worn out by noise,” he adds.
Troldtekt A/S has just released two guides covering cafés and restaurants with excellent acoustics: One for Aarhus and one for Copenhagen. These include everything from well-known restaurants like Domestic in Aarhus and Sticks’n’Sushi in Copenhagen, to smaller jewels like La Cabra in Aarhus and the BRUS brewery in Copenhagen.
“We probably all know the feeling of sitting at a dinner where you can barely hear what is being said because of noise. This is extremely tiring – and for people with hearing difficulties, the problem is even greater. We’re pleased that there is now greater focus on good acoustics as part of a good dinner. And we are proud that Troldtekt acoustic solutions have been chosen for a number of restaurants and cafés,” says Peer Leth, CEO of Troldtekt A/S.