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Type Of Eating Places
by. Dolvin ≈ January 24, 2008
The Pier Hotel & Restaurant

Let’s take the simpler example of how we refer to the place we eat: is it a restaurant? Brasserie? Café? Bistro? And what in the world makes them all different, anyway?

Why, of course they have their own categories and it’s not only because Brasserie is a French word. Let’s get Kosher with these babies:
  • Restaurant: A restaurant is typically large, with personalized tables and a range of food to choose from the menu. The origin of restaurant is a subject laden with controversy. Some say the first establishments of the dining place began in 13th century China, Hangzhou to be exact. Being the center of trade, the place was in need of taverns and tea houses, which then proceeded on to serve meals. Some say they originated from the 15th century taverns in England, but most agree that the first properly ran restaurant was one ran by a gentleman named Boulanger in Paris. Afterwards, he was apparently involved in a dispute concerning the accusation of him monopolizing one particular type of dish, the ragout (dish cooked in sauce). The particular jargon ‘restaurant’ actually means ‘restoratives’, referring to soups and broths-light meals with the ability to ‘restore’.

  • Brasserie: Unmistakably French in nature, a Brasserie is a small, cozy eating place, which commonly serves hearty amounts of liquor, usually beer. Meals are served in one-dish nature and the atmosphere is usually informal. Sometimes, the meals are regarded as a second affair.

  • Bistro: A bit similar to brasserie, a Bistro is also usually petite and simple. Meals are prepared in simple manners and a range of wine or other liquors is available. Authentic-style Bistros may not provide menus.

  • Prewpub: Again, a combination of alcoholic drinks and meals. However, a Prewpub proudly brews its own drinks to serve.

  • Café, Coffee shops and Tea-Houses: As the names suggest, A Café and its sibling, the Tea-House, focuses more on the drinks and teté-a- teté that comes with them. Socializing and contemplating are the common aims of thos venturing into a Café. However, a Café or Tea House may also be synonymous with delicious pastries and light meals.

  • Diner: Very American-style eating spot not to be mistaken with fast food restaurant. True, the meals served are Hamburgers, fries and the likes, yet a Diner has a stronger touch of authenticity and home-made-ness. Diners evolved from mobile lunch-wagons serving inexpensive meals for downtown workers. To this present day, a diner usually maintains its mobile look with chrome fabrics and art-deco interiors, although the building itself is considerably immobile.
It is plain to see that some of the eating places in Jakarta do not take the terms rigidly. Here, a ‘bistro’ may have a distinctly formal look about itself and a ‘brasserie’ may be larger than the Parisian version. Perhaps we should adopt Shakespeare’s ‘what’s in a name?' stance and just enjoy our meals without criticizing.
 
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January 24, 2008
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