Recently, I wrote about walking out of a restaurant because the manager was condescending and rude to diners who were using discount coupons. He also didn't seem to care about being hospitable to myself and my guest, even though we were prepared to pay full price (not that it should have made a difference). Several readers wrote in to ask why I didn't 'name and shame' the restaurant, saying I should publicise it so people could avoid it. I did consider naming the place when I wrote the column, but I thought it unfair to judge it when I hadn't even tasted the food. When food is really good, I can ignore surly service and less-than-perfect environments - if I didn't, it would rule out a lot of places. For me, food is about 75 per cent of dining out. Service, presentation and environment matter - in that order - but most important is the taste of what's on the plate. Others may feel differently, and like to be fawned over in sumptuous surroundings, sometimes at the expense of the food. Ideally, of course, everything falls into place, and I leave eager to tell others about a near-perfect meal. More often, there's a problem with one or more of the factors, but I judge accordingly. At cheaper places, I'm happy with service that's merely efficient, where there's no pretence at making the dishes look nice and the fluorescent lighting is glaring, as long as I like what I eat. At the other end of the scale are the high-end restaurants where service would be considered a failure if it were merely efficient; the servers need to be discreet, thoughtful and knowledgeable. Presentations should be modern and attractive, and the setting should be lush, but not over the top or so oppressive people are afraid to laugh out loud. At mid-range places (which the restaurant in question is), I expect everything (except food quality) to be somewhere in between cheap and high-end. An effort should be made with food presentation and the seats should be comfortably padded, and not just hard fold-out stools set at glass-covered tabletops. The service, too, should be in between - a step up from merely efficient, and I'd be happy with friendly, willing and hospitable. The problem with the place I walked out of - which is part of a fairly big restaurant group - is that I could only judge the service and environment. The seats were comfortable enough, although the music was too loud; and I've said enough about the bad service. The food - which could have tipped the balance in its favour - didn't come into it. Could I have been patient, and ignored everything else in order to judge the food? Yes, of course; the other diners stayed, after all. And I hope, for the diners' sake, the chefs put more effort into preparing their meal, than the manager did into serving it.