15 June 2011
The food was pretty good – food not the issue, ambience was quite good, too. To be clear, myself and brothers/cousin, we'd been out for a couple of ales, but were more than presentable; by and large we get politer after ales… didn't want to put them out, quick pizza before bed etc
All was pretty good during the meal, but here was the issue: we arrived, we ordered, maitre d' was so enthusiastic almost anyone would have hired him as a manager in their business irrespective. Problem was, we thought we had ordered a bottle of red (no we did not specify house, but it was one of those “we've just ordered some £10 per head pizza can we have a bottle of red” type situations…).
Come the end of the meal and the bill it turns out we “have ordered” the most expensive bottle in the establishment… at £52 per bottle! Twice…! The maître d’ believes he offered us 3 wines, the first couple under £20, and that we chose the third, at £52 per bottle. Thing is, I categorically know that cannot be correct, because I know for certain that there is no way I or any of my three friends would have knowingly ordered a £52 bottle of wine, let alone ordered a second. On the basis that we cannot have explicitly agreed to that selection knowing its price, I've worked on the assumption that if you are in pizza restaurant eating £10 pizza and you ask for a bottle of red, the waiter has a duty to read that as ‘a simple bottle of red from somewhere near the least pricey end of the wine list‘, rather than ‘the most expensive bottle of red on the menu’. We did however agree to what he suggested (without knowing the price).
His solution was to give us an extra bottle of the same wine he had just sold us two bottles of at presumably the same fantastical markup as all restaurants do… I did not feel that was the right outcome, but I agreed because it was very late, I was very tired, and I don't much like complaining and confrontation, especially at the end of a meal.
There is maybe no certainty on right and wrong here, maybe I should have been eagle-eyed on spotting that the ‘bottle of red’ with a pizza was the most expensive bottle of red he had ever sold. Maybe he did tell us the price of each of the bottles of wine and somehow each of us failed to hear it. But I know that I believe in my gut that the price of the wine was never mentioned, and I can’t convince myself otherwise, even in the interests of seeing both sides of the matter… which means, in the end, I still have a nagging feeling that we were not properly dealt with, and that isn’t going to make me run back there in a hurry…