I ran afoul of rules at restaurants only once when I was a young man. I attempted to enter the Palm Court at the Rtiz in London for tea … without a jacket.
A distinguished middle aged gentleman wearing an exquisite suit approached me and asked me to follow him into a side room, where he fitted me with a suitable garment. All was well again.
At the time, I thought this was amusing. But as the years have gone by, I appreciate more why these sorts of rules exist. Certain places do demand certain standards of behavior, or the experience that they are designed to offer is compromised, if not ruined, for all.
Which takes us to the scenic restaurant, Le Petit Jardin in the town Saint Guilhem le Désert. It is meant to be an oasis of calm an beauty.
The owner’s (seeks) to create the right environment for diners to appreciate the spectacular view over the gorges of the Hérault River and to focus on what they have on their plates.
Indeed, the river is quite special. Here is a peek
And the setting does have its charms.
Would mobile phone use, for example, taking pictures of what one is about to eat, or staring vacantly into the screen to catch up on a Facebook thread, disturb this atmosphere? Yes, or at least so says the owner, Jean-Noël Fleury. But his approach to enforcing the no mobile phone rule is a bit eccentric, don’t you think?
Those who insist on keeping their phones are sanctioned with a blow of a whistle and a yellow card (in soccer, the referee’s warning when one player fouls another), which are generally received in good humor.
After the yellow card, comes a red card (when a soccer player is ejected from the game for bad behavior). “Some have refused to put down their phones and said they don’t like the rule and have left,” Fleury told The Local. “I don’t mind. I’d rather that people like that eat in another restaurant; there are three in the village.”
Does repeated blowing on a whistle and handing out yellow and red cards, not distract from the peaceful setting? Ah well, let’s hope that it is rarely necessary.