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Everything posted by Clerkenwellian

  1. I love the bit where she is stunned and dismayed that nobody laughed when, after cutting up a pig's head, she said she "made a pig's ear of it".
  2. is it at all possible the price could be a factor?
  3. I accept there will be minor administrative costs associated with cancelling one booking and making another. But it is not remotely credible that these administration costs will come to £20 per head (particularly in the context of an average bill of £50 per head).
  4. For the zillionth time: I was perfectly willing to pay the charge if the restaurant lost money as a result of my cancellation. But if every table was full that evening (as was most likely the case) it suffered little or no loss and it is not fair or justifiable for me to pay £40. Thus my indignant spluttering. That has always been my understanding of how cancellation charges work, and most people here seem to agree. It works both ways: if the restaurant had cancelled on me, but I found an equally good table elsewhere for minimum hassle/expense, then I don't think it would be right for me to claim any recompense from the restaurant. Everybody is entitled to be treated fairly and not to lose out as a result of somebody else's breach of contract, but no-one is entitled to a windfall at another's expense. This seems me both moral and sensible. The fact the law works the same way is a happy accident.
  5. It's a week later, and they haven't charged my credit card. Perhaps my indignant spluttering down the phone had some effect.
  6. The Court of Appeal doesn't agree with you: "[a penalty clause] will not be enforced... beyond the sum which represents [the] actual loss" (Jobson v Jobson (1989)). If the restaurant was (as is likely to be the case) full on the night in question, then the only actual loss resulting from the cancellation will be the administrative costs of making/cancelling the reservation. I find it hard to believe these amount to £20 per cover, where the average per person bill is around is £50. Jobson v Johnson, not Jobson v Jobson. But what do those saps know about anything. I'll take this to the House of Lords . You got me. My memory's not what it was - shall consider suing the Tanqueray gin company.
  7. The Court of Appeal doesn't agree with you: "[a penalty clause] will not be enforced... beyond the sum which represents [the] actual loss" (Jobson v Jobson (1989)). If the restaurant was (as is likely to be the case) full on the night in question, then the only actual loss resulting from the cancellation will be the administrative costs of making/cancelling the reservation. I find it hard to believe these amount to £20 per cover, where the average per person bill is around is £50.
  8. To put this into a charge context, I think it fair to advise that if this is the restaurant I guess it to be from this 'clue', then dinner is in the realm of £200-300/$380-550 per person. A £20/$36 cancellation covers what I said previously - time wasted by the restaurant in thinking they had a table booked booked by the time stipulated. I think that the true name of this establishment should be named and that the "Egullet Staff" email them this thread. We were booked in the cheapo bit of the restaurant: think more like £45 per person. Thanks for the suggestion, but I'd rather make an informal approach to the restaurant at this stage.
  9. The lack of reciprocity in the terms of the contract purportedly created by the telephone conversation (i.e. that if I cancel I pay £20, but if they cancel they don't pay me anything) is why I thought the contract might be unlawful under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations. Penalties that are imposed on the consumer only are stated to be prima facie unfair in the OFT's guidance on the UTCCR. This point is of academic interest only in my case (as the fact the fee is charged irrespective of the restaurant's loss makes it an unlawful "penalty"). However this lack of reciprocity may mean that cancellation fees are, technically, unlawful even if they are only charged when a restaurant cannot find replacement diners. For what it's worth, this doesn't seem to me to be a particularly fair result for the restaurant.
  10. No. I think that credit card bookings are entirely reasonable. You don't go on holiday without booking and paying for it - you take out insurance for last minute cancellations. By taking a credit card, the restaurant is taking out insurance. I can't help but think back to one of the initial points that Clerkenwellian came up with. HE/SHE HAD TO CANCEL BY 2.00PM - HE/SHE PHONED AT 3.00PM. Please help me here. What part of 2.00pm was not undserstood? To me, the initial phone call comes into the realms of contract law in England. An offer and acceptance took place. Consideration (legal def.) on both parts would have taken place if C had eaten there. However, C broke the contract, and therefore had to pay consideration as per the original contract to the restaurant. please read my earlier posts. Even if I agreed to a cancellation fee on these, unusual, terms (which I didn't) under a correct contract law analysis their "cancellation fee" is a penalty and hence unlawful.
  11. The legal position? A "penalty" (an agreement for a party in breach to pay an amount which doesn't relate to the other party's loss) has long been considered repugnant under English contract law and is unenforceable. Whether both parties purport to agree is irrelevant - a penalty is always unlawful. This species of cancellation fee is probably also an "unfair term" under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and if so you could in theory refer to the OFT (although I'm a bit rusty on this point). Full disclosure: I'm a lawyer and, whilst I (unaccountably) don't specialise in restaurant litigation, this is all pretty basic English contract law. The moral position? When a customer telephones with a cancellation and the restaurant later fills the table and loses no money, what on earth is the moral justification for charging a cancellation fee? Those who claim I'm morally bound by my acceptance of a cancellation fee over the phone seem to accept the restaurant's curious definition of what a "cancellation fee" is. In my mind, the cancellation fee I agreed to over the 'phone was to compensate the restaurant for lost trade, not to entitle them to money for nothing. If they had told me their view of the fee (i.e. basically a fine for naughty customers who cancel too late, and nothing to do with their economic loss) I would not have made the reservation. I don't think I'm morally bound to pay any more than I'm legally bound to pay. The bottom line is that the cancellation fee is only £20 per person, which makes it petty rather than greedy. But I do feel irked, and shall send a polite fax and report back.
  12. I'd always understood the point of cancellation charges was to protect restaurants from losing money as a result of no-shows and late cancellations. The restaurant seem to think a cancellation charge is like a parking fine. So whilst they they certainly advised me they had a cancellation charge, I think we have a different definition of what a "cancellation charge" actually is. But I don't know if I have a moral case. In the end, I did cancel at short notice, and it does mean they can't be certain how many covers they'll have this evening. It seems unfair to name the restaurant, but it rhymes with "kvetch".
  13. Is this true? If so, you should consider yourself supported and make your case. The cancellation charge, imho, should always come with a time limit. If you call in good time, as opposed to simply not showing, they should take that as good faith on your part. I made the booking yesterday; the time limit was 2pm today and I cancelled at about 3pm. The legal position is pretty clear: a provision that someone in breach of contract pay a fixed amount which isn't dependent on the other party's loss is a "penalty", and it's a principle of English contract law that penalties are unlawful.
  14. popped into Flaneur about 3pm last Sunday and it was packed with lunchers
  15. I had a reservation at a certain popular London restaurant. When I booked I gave my credit card details on the understanding they'd make a cancellation charge if I cancelled at short notice. My dining companion's travel plans changed, so I just called to cancel. They said they were going to make the reservation charge. I said this was fine if the restaurant didn't find anyone else to fill the table. If, however, the table ended up being filled (as I expect will be the case given the popularity of the restaurant), the restaurant won't be out of pocket and therefore I won't expect to pay the cancellation charge. The restaurant, however, says it charges the cancellation penalty whether or not the table gets filled. This seems unfair to me, and strictly speaking this isn't lawful (English law only entitles you to recover for your loss, not to make a windfall). But am I being unreasonable making a fuss about this? Do all restaurants take this attitude to cancellations?
  16. how about Tokyo Diner (Newport Place, just round the corner from the horrors of Leicester Square)?
  17. Thanks for that (link here). I agree that the names of the tasting menus are trite. Everything else in this review is bollocks (well, the half actually devoted to the restaurant and not meanderings about Mexico). "If all of us had ordered a menu each, we’d have had a mountain of food"? Doesn't the man know what a tasting menu is? And ordering two meals between six people; how weird was that?
  18. had a lovely meal here on Friday. Food and service excellent. Menu has gone up to £40 but seems the same as in the early November reports. Has anybody heard anything about how frequently they plan to change it?
  19. I'd heard that the chef has moved on. Does anyone know if that is true, if so when and has it affected the quality of the food? did I read somewhere that they have a separate chef (and kitchen) for dim sum?
  20. had a very poor lunch at Passione yesterday. Service all over the place: each drink/course served by a different member of staff. In the inevitable confusion, drinks went AWOL and our order was muddled up with the adjacent table's. Carpaccio starter was okay, but lacking in flavour. The seasonal mushroom risotto was again lacking in flavour, and over-salted. I remember having a great meal there a couple of years ago - has it gone downhill?
  21. Simply Nico was sold off by Nico Ladenis some time ago, and became a deeply mediocre and overpriced chain of ugly restaurants in crappy locations. I think they've now all closed down, but I'm not sure.
  22. The 1966 Margaux story is splashed across page 5 of this evening's Standard. It recounts the story (without mentioning egullet by name) and says Petrus owned up to a mistake by the assistant sommelier (who was "rather embarassed"). They offered either a refund or another meal, with menu chosen by Waring and wines by the head sommelier. Sandra chose the meal. The Standard even a runs a (typically vapid) leader on the subject.
  23. The current incarnation of Lola's has an interesting and value-for-money brunch/lunch menu
  24. a super-quick and vaguely Italian alternative is to pour a kettle of boiling water through a colinder full of fresh spinach so it wilts ever-so-slightly, let it drain a little but not entirely, and then blend with a little garlic and lots of olive oil.
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