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simon gueller back at the stove?


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Andy, if i could provide the line of coke and Jordan's services, i would gladly oblige.If a guest has a request that is reasonable, doesn't upset the balance of the universe, why is it a bad thing for a guest to get what they want.I don't think Jay is trying to stamp out wine pouring, just asking for something easy to do, similar to his 1/4 past the hour quirk.

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I don't think Jay is trying to stamp out wine pouring, just asking for something  easy to do, similar to his 1/4 past the hour quirk.

I'm sure you realise that comment was made in jest, however, I do see a picture building up here; "I'd like to come at quarter past the hour, not half past, not on the hour but quarter past. And I must pour my own wine. Make sure they all know about that. And I want that table, the one Michael Winner always sits at..."

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I think Jay has made his point, and is justified in bringing this to your attention but seeing as i was there too my tenpennorth is....

i as a rule have no problem with the waiter pouring my wine or me pouring my own, but if the restaurant does remove the wine and pour then i would like a smallish amount that enables a good swirl to be developed and even more importantly that i am not left with a dry glass.

if this is accomplished then i am quite happy, however i can count restaurants that can do that on the fingers of less than one hand- number 3 and winteringham fields spring to mind, i stick to places that i like, and don't weekly offer myself up to the 'altar of the waiter' like Jay does every week.

in this instance, jay had already said to me that wine being poured was a pet peeve, in his view mainly designed to sell more wine which is fair enough.

We tasted it and said we'd pour our own. The waiter was fine with that, we shouldn't have had to tell every waiter that we were pouring our own. The waiter should have told his colleagues that was the situation, simple as that. After the third (i think) time it went beyond a joke and became an irritation.

As the review said, all of this has to be viewed in the context of the charging, at £90 a head in leeds it's got to be more than just ok, attention to detail is what moves a restaurant from merely good to great, I like simon and rena and want the box tree to succeed but this was the weakest meal i have had there out of my 3 visits, it is frustrating as a customer when you know they can do it better.

cheers

gary

you don't win friends with salad

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I don't think Jay is trying to stamp out wine pouring, just asking for something  easy to do, similar to his 1/4 past the hour quirk.

I'm sure you realise that comment was made in jest, however, I do see a picture building up here; "I'd like to come at quarter past the hour, not half past, not on the hour but quarter past. And I must pour my own wine. Make sure they all know about that. And I want that table, the one Michael Winner always sits at..."

I have no problem with wine pouring in restaurants. If that's what you want, fine. Here's the thing: I drink faster than my wife, but we always have an equal share. You keep filling me up as I drink, and I'm left calculating how much I've had against her and when I should stop and... oh sod, let me pour my own wine and then I don't have to worry about it.

The wine pouring test for me is not about pouring wine. It's about communication between front of house staff. If I want something done a particular way, and the something is not ludicrous (bring me the chef naked and have him belly dance before me every hour on the hour etc) I should only have to tell one member of staff and they'll pass it on. When you end up batting away the wine pourers like they're flies it gets irritating and is a clear sign that nobody is talking to each other.

I'll shut up now.

Jay

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I think its the universality implied by the phrase "the wine test" that I object to; as though it was something we all do when we visit a restaurant, when in fact what we are talking about is an individual's preference.

Although I understand that its a useful device for the critic, I dislike the idea of "testing" a restaurant at all. I'm sure it was not the intention here, but it could be percieved as trying to catch the restaurant out, thereby putting the customer and restaurant on a combative footing which would not help the cause of getting this country the kind of service it deserves.

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I dislike the idea of "testing" a restaurant at all.

Why?? Surely everytime you eat in a restaurant you are testing it. Can the chef cook? Can the sommelier pick a good wine? Are the wait staff any cop? It's all about testing!

What are Michelin, GM et al doing when they are reviewing a restaurant? They are TESTING it.

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This was not a test just for the sake of it.Jay had a reason to ask for the wine not to be poured.Just like some people ask for tap water, and shouldn't have to jump through hoops to get it.Anyone remember "the Napkin Test" or the "Mint Tea Test" from back in the day?.

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Jay had a reason to ask for the wine not to be poured.

Rather than simply say that he wanted to pour the wine himself, he could have explained his reasons to the staff and given them the chance of providing the service he really wanted, which is to have the bottle of wine poured equally between himself and his guest.

However, as we now know, Jay was not dining with his wife on this occassion, but Gary Marshall, so the rate of consumption would probably have been about even anyway, therefore negating the requirement to pour the wine himself. If that is true, then this was in fact a test for the sake of it and carried out for the purpose of the review alone.

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Jay had a reason to ask for the wine not to be poured.

Rather than simply say that he wanted to pour the wine himself, he could have explained his reasons to the staff and given them the chance of providing the service he really wanted, which is to have the bottle of wine poured equally between himself and his guest.

But Why????? It was a simple customer request. He shouldn't have to explain himself.

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Your right Andy,my mistake.

In this case, Jay was testing the restaurant ability to allow him to pour his own wine.I don't think guests should have to explain their reasons for something this simple.It's not that the waiters were insisting on pouring, they just did not tell each other "Those freaks on table 3 want to pour their own wine"

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I don't think guests should have to explain their reasons for something this simple.

In an ideal world I think you are correct. But the reality of the situation is that, once a restaurant service is set up in a particular way, its often quite difficult for a customer to change that to suit them. I have for example on one memorable occasion seen a sommelier rush over to a table and take a bottle out of a customer's hand because he had dared to pour his own wine.

Even if you do explain yourself at length, you don't always get what you want, (and not only in the UK as my recent meal at Aux Lyonnaise demonstrates.), but all I'm suggesting is that the compromise of explaining oneself might result in the desired service experience, rather than a battle.

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I don't think guests should have to explain their reasons for something this simple.

In an ideal world I think you are correct. But the reality of the situation is that, once a restaurant service is set up in a particular way, its often quite difficult for a customer to change that to suit them. I have for example on one memorable occasion seen a sommelier rush over to a table and take a bottle out of a customer's hand because he had dared to pour his own wine.

Even if you do explain yourself at length, you don't always get what you want, (and not only in the UK as my recent meal at Aux Lyonnaise demonstrates.), but all I'm suggesting is that the compromise of explaining oneself might result in the desired service experience, rather than a battle.

Andy, i can think of nothing easier for a restaurant to do than allow a punter to pour his own wine.Thats it , i'm done here.

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I understand the problem from Jay Rayner's point if view as a diner, but surely as critic he shouldn't complicate the task of a restaurant in serving him, or, if he has to, at least not write about it. It just seems a bit unfair.

It seems entirely fair to me, and a perfectly reasonable thing for a reviewer to mention. We often encounter exactly the same problems as Jay mentions - Duncan tends to drink faster than me, but we still want to share the bottle evenly.

In addition if one of you is driving back then you must be able to limit the amount of wine drunk - if the waiter insists in topping up your glass every time he passes then this is well nigh impossible! We usually just try and intercept the waiter, but this can be difficult, particularly if you don't speak a language that the waiter understands. (And I'm not just talking about eating abroad here - we have had serious communication problems at an otherwise enjoyable meal in Berkshire).

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I have for example on one memorable occasion seen a sommelier rush over to a table and take a bottle out of a customer's hand because he had dared to pour his own wine.

this has happened to me too. very annoying.

edit in le gavroche back in 03 ....." wrestling the wine off the sommelier who kept doing the classic not watching glasses so go to fill your own and then half way through they go for the bottle to finish the job, irritating at best."

gary

Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

you don't win friends with salad

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It seems to me that people are becoming so involved in the etiquette of dining that they are no longer enjoying the experience as much as they could be.

Does it really matter whether or not the wine is poured for you or by you? As long as the food is up to scratch, and the service is good, informed and friendly, I would not be taken aback by either method.

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It seems to me that people are becoming so involved in the etiquette of dining that they are no longer enjoying the experience as much as they could be.

i can easily see how you could come to that conclusion and that being pompous/ arrogant/ opinionated/cynical are just 4 of the character traits required to post here. :laugh:

but i can also add that i have dined with many people from food websites such as this/foodies in general and found everyone on the whole to be lively and entertaining company despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

at such dinners i can say i never discussed my job, (indeed i have no idea what many of my london dining companions do to this day!) how much my house is worth or where i am going on holiday (unless food related). and whilst i might get upset that my glass is not sparkling, the wine is not at my thought of correct temperature, the seasoning is not quite right, i can assure you by the end of my lunch/dinner i will have consumed enough of the former to not really give a toss :wacko:

whilst conscious of detail and etiquette it didn't stop my lunch on saturday finishing at 7pm after clearing out the restaurants supply of chorey-les-beaune and making significant dents in the raspberry beer stocks :biggrin:

cheers

gary

you don't win friends with salad

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