We arrived at the restaurant. A sign hanging from a rope in front of the door asked us to ring the doorbell. A waiter opened the door, greeted us, asked if we had a reservation, "no," we replied. This did not appear to matter as the rope was unclipped, we were gestured to enter and shown to a table. One couple was already seated and were perusing the menu. The other tables sat empty, awaiting the arrival of lunchtime customers.

The meal was not rushed. As we ate, people arrived, first ringing the doorbell as was required. Sounds of voices and mixed languages filled the room, comfortably. The waiters moved between tables, taking orders, placing plates, serving drinks, filling requests.

Nearing the end of our meal, we looked out over a full restaurant. In my mind`s eye I saw a time-lapse film showing the tables slowly fill.

We stood up, ready to leave, and put on our coats in readiness for the brisk weather outside. Customers chatted enthusiastically, the waiters thanked us for our custom. We headed out, satisfied and ready for the afternoon.