Rafters: 5 fine dining myths debunked

We speak to Rafters co-owner and manager Alistair Myers, who debunks five common myths regarding modern day fine dining

#1: It’s a formal and stuffy affair
Nope, there’s no need to get dressed up at Rafters if you don’t want to. We’re all about making people feel as comfortable as possible – we’ve even had someone so relaxed that they’ve taken their shoes off! Some might still have that perception about the formality of eating in fine dining restaurants, but times have moved on and we’re all about breaking the barrier of stiffness that might still be associated with it. It’s about providing a nice, relaxed atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

#2: The menus are ridiculously expensive
We’re keen to be a place where people feel like they can drop in mid-week, maybe if they manage to get a last-minute babysitter or fancy a spontaneous meal out, so we offer two courses for £30 on our classic dinner menu, or three for £38. They’re available Tuesday to Thursday, 6.30-8pm; and on Friday and Saturday, 5.30-6.30pm.

#3: The staff are snobby
I’m a Sheffield lad born and bred – I couldn’t be snobby if I tried! There’s no pomp involved; it’s just run by two local lads, one in the kitchen and one who loves serving and meeting new people, who thrive off keeping customers happy in their hometown.

#4: You need to be clued up on your fancy wines and champagne
We’ve stripped back our wine selection to 15 whites and 15 reds, which will be chosen around a seasonal menu. We had a good think about what will work with the food menu, and by doing so we’ve brought together the three key things at Rafters: food, drink and service. I took an interest in wine and got my sommelier certificate, but that just means I enjoy talking about wine to customers – there’s no judgement at all! And of course, we have a few ales on offer if that’s what people would prefer.

#5: Only good for special occasions
By all means, if you’d like to come for a special occasion then we’d love to have you. But as mentioned, we love it when people pop in for a mid-week meal, so there’s no need to book weeks in advance. On that point, it’s business as usual in the run-up to Christmas – no special party menus or anything – so if you have a birthday or reason to celebrate in December and don’t want to be surrounded by Christmas dos, Rafters is the place.

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