A dollop of off-the-curb eating quirk to brighten up those midweek blues every wednesday or thursdays or both
In London, it’s no real secret that restaurants go for the jugular when it comes to liquid offerings. As if the food is not expensive enough, ( the typical 3 course meal in London was the most expensive in the world 2 years ago ) it would appear that restaurants are always hunting for ways to rack up your bill (plus, plus) . I haven’t got any restaurant bills on hand, but I have definitely been forking out between £3.50 and £5.00 for a bottle. Let’s just do a quick crunch, I’ve reviewed 31 places so far, let’s say I paid £3.50 per visit per bottle (which I have) , that’s equal to £108.50 … or roughly two and a half dinners. Ouch.
Uttering the words ‘tap’ is near blasphemy in some establishments and one cannot help but feel bullied into making a choice. Even the question itself suggests tap water is not an option, and indeed some restaurants actually do refuse tap to customers (Believe me, I’ve been refused a couple of times). On the other hand, I actually quite enjoy drinking mineral water. However, a two litre bottle of Evian is only 70p at the local Sainsbury, I doubt a Speyside or a Perrier costs much more than Evian, especially if the restaurant is buying in bulk.
Ok let’s get on the discussion of choice –since we are obliged to make one- what would one choose? I used to always go still, I think the majority of Brits go still as well (well, we’ll put that to a vote) . In continental Europe, it’s a totally different story. Only sparkling, anything else is just weird. Having been brainwashed by a German ex for a year, I too, now go sparkling, however I can still do still if I have to. S.Pellegrino if I really have a choice.
Having said that, some restaurants do offer filtered water (complimentary I might add) to guests, Strada springs to mind. They even put it in a nice glass bottle on the table on to which the label tells you that it’s filtered, I think it is a pretty nice gesture. In fact, I might even add that the elitist viewpoint of not serving tap is beginning to change, what with the Evening Standard’s ‘Water on Tap’ campaign to rid restaurants of the still or sparkling culture; There is a harmonious dream of a future where all restaurants only serve free flowing (and free) tepid tap to all diners. There’s even a list of the restaurants who’ve signed up to this campaign so far.
With the recent sad news of Aaya’s passing into the history books (I hadn’t even had a chance yet), restaurants can do no wrong cutting back on the plus plus’ and replace them with ‘nice gestures’ to keep people coming back in hard times. Here’s a suggestion Mr restaurant owner reading this, you could be breaking new ground by offering a ‘complimentary’ glass (or two) of a choice of still or sparkling, better yet complimentary filtered water on the table (in a nice jug for dramatic effect) would be quite a nice gesture.
It’d save me the cost of two and a half dinners at the very least.
What about you? Are you still, sparkling, tap, perhaps you only drink liquidise courage? Votes and comments are welcomed.
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