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Winterlicious 2006


mkjr
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Yes, I understand that... but where on earth is it customary for one not to tip at all?

Dunno... Maybe there is somewhere on earth where it is considered rude. I haven't been to that place yet, though I have been to plenty of places where I tipped when I felt I shouldn't have, but I think that's a whole other story :wink:

I overtip to show what a big ignoramus I am :biggrin:

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I think in Europe, from what I experienced those whose can pay extra do, and those who cannot, ie. me and my best friend traveling the countryside don't. Actually, I have old collegues who run a place up here in Seattle and they actually refuse to be tipped. Don't accept it. They believe service is part of the meal. ( Elemental restaurant in case you are interested.)

" You soo tall, but you so skinny. I like you, you come home with me, I feed you!"- random japanese food worker.

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Just out of interest (and please excuse my ignorance here) in which other countries does one not tip when dining in a restaurant?...Please educate us here...
You sound sceptical... Anyway, in Japan and Korea you don't tip, nor in Oz or NZ. Though I can't remember exactly how things went when I was in restaurants in the UK, I know it isn't really different from the pubs, where everyone knows you don't tip. (Buy a drink for servers if you're really grateful.)

In Spain and Portugal you tend to round up, so if your bill is €8.25 then you pay €9. If it's €47 then pay €50. Beyond those ratios, people will wonder what you're trying to prove. ("Do these foreigners think we're poor?") Lots of countries are similar.

Westerners and other well-to-do types in Sri Lanka and India can give 5-10%. Leave up to 10% in HK. (Tipping ratios will be higher in fancier restaurants.)

I'm mentioning these places because I've lived in most of them, and so know for sure. I can refer to more countries if you like. However, you can also check around, for example a BBC-related list on http://people.howstuffworks.com/framed.htm...abaster/A640018.

Actually, the differences between countries can be pretty interesting when you think about it. Here's a quote from howstuffworks.com:

"Michael Lynn, an associate professor of market and consumer behavior at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, researched the variations of tipping in different countries. Comparing the types of services that were tipped in each country with personality tests that had been given to people in those countries, he came to the conclusion that countries with more extroverted and neurotic people gave tips to the greatest number of services and also tipped the largest amounts. (The U.S. was at the top of both of those categories, by the way.) His theory is that "extroverts are outgoing, dominating, social people" and see tipping as an incentive for the waiter to give them extra attention. Neurotics are more prone to guilt and general anxiety, making them tip more because of their perceived difference in status between themselves and the server."

Based on the common 15% expected in Canada, I'm sure we're high up on the neurosis list as well. I also think the bit about perceived difference in status is interesting. Why is it that US visitors in Toronto tend to tip more? (A little support for their poor cousins to the north?)

I haven't worked as a waiter, but I think I would prefer to receive my 10-15% gratuity automaticallly through bills and wages - as in France (Germany too, I think). I might feel patronised fiddling with coins, cash and customer perceptions of status.

Edited by KevV (log)
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Based on the common 15% expected in Canada, I'm sure we're high up on the neurosis list as well.  I also think the bit about perceived difference in status is interesting.  Why is it that US visitors in Toronto tend to tip more?  (A little support for their poor cousins to the north?) 

.

We overtip because we forget about all the pst, gst, etc and we can't do math in our heads. A diatribe on the economic differences of tipping within various cultures is old news. Basically, we're talking about Toronto, not Senegal, when in Rome...? To use an old hockey adage,"If the cheapskate fits...well.." :raz:

Edited by GordonCooks (log)
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A diatribe on the economic differences of tipping within various cultures is old news. Basically, we're talking about Toronto, not Senegal, when in Rome...?

Senegal's a nice place and, actually...:wink:[KevV gives a smug grin]... tipping ratios in Toronto and Dakar are quite similar - around 15%. Many places favoured by foreigners will include service charges in the bill, however, because of the French influence. That's better to me.

I don't believe the subject is old news either. Differences are interesting. Culture, cuisine and dining all go together.

Also, this hasn't been a 'diatribe' about differences between cultures. This has been about Toronto - dining here, and Winterlicious. Someone mentioned France and NonDoctor asked about other countries.

As for Rome - I haven't been there :cool: so someone else can fill us in.

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There are many threads that discuss tipping. Perhaps some of the threads can be culled so we keep this thread on topic and in particular, regional....."manager"?... :wink: or perhaps another thread can be started regarding tipping during this event?

I find that service during WL is as variable as service in Toronto generally (and for that matter in many cities) and WL does not make it any better or worse. Although staff many not like the event because some may not be willing to shell out the money for wine and drinks etc., I suspect that they are missing an opportunity to make dinners return after the week. I go back to places that I have had good service at, whether that is part of work or out with my wife. WL is a chance to try new places and others I have been to before at a savings. If the service and food is good, I will go back. If not, there are many other places that I am willing to spend my $$$$. If this means that I go to a place for the first time with a very limited WL menu which is marginal, even though the place may be good at another time, at regular prices I am less likely to go in the first place, and if the food or service is marginal, I will not return. If a restaurant wants to use this event to turn a quick buck, that is there choice. I also find that although the menus appear to be economical, perhaps one should consider that a regular menu during regular operating hours is also designed to maximize value. I think that with margins on food what they are this event is not any different that most places goal to serve good food and make a little money. :smile:

officially left egullet....

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given the friends I've heard from who go to Winterlicious...and given my foodie friends who don't...from that sampling (admittedly small) I would assume that the type of people who go to Winterlicious are not the sort of would patronize those restaurants at any other time. Yes, they might be impressed by the food or service...but they're not the sort who would pay full price for even very good food.

I like Winterlicious as a chance to experience a restaurant whose decor or ambiance (IE the strictly non-food items) I'm interested in. If I like it then I'll go back after the event to eat the "real" food. I always suspected (and I have no evidence for this) that the food is "dumbed down" during Winterlicious so I don't bother fighting for those magical reservations for places where I'm only interested in the food.

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Well I guess I'm one of those people mentioned who only patronize such restaurants during winterlicious/summerlicious and almost never try them any other time. It's mostly because I'm a student, and this is one of the rare opportunities when I can dine at places that are simply out of my reach $$$-wise normally. I do at least order a glass of wine though, especially since I tend to dine alone for these events (most of my friends are students too and tend not to wanna spend too much for eating out).

However, I do find the drinking alcoholic beverages with a meal practice is largely a cultural thing because I tend to order the wine more out of courtesy (I mean per glass wines at restaurants aren't usually that great and are probably the biggest rip-offs considering I could get a whole bottle at an LCBO for the price of a glass at a restaurant) than anything. Many cultures don't need to drink wine to enjoy their dining experience, so I think that's something people should consider when labelling those who don't order it with their food as 'cheapskates'. I always find it weird when people bring bottles of red to dim sum places but don't drink the tea. But then again, I realize that's just because I'm not used to it myself so why should I be so quick to judge right?

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However, I do find the drinking alcoholic beverages with a meal practice is largely a cultural thing because I tend to order the wine more out of courtesy ... Many cultures don't need to drink wine to enjoy their dining experience, so I think that's something people should consider when labelling those who don't order it with their food as 'cheapskates'.
That's interesting but I would say that, for me, the decision to order wine really depends on what I'm eating. For example, you can pair some wines with curries if you really want, but I wouldn't normally get wine cravings with that sort of food. Beer, sure, but not wine unless I was feeling experimental and probably at home. On the other hand, if you have a steak with frites it'll seem pretty plain without vino. A dish like that is basically designed to go with wine, and vice versa.

'Cheapskates' - I don't think GordonCooks was saying that people who don't order wine are cheapos. I think the implication was that I am, or that others like me who complain about tipping are. Or maybe hockey players. I don't know. But call me cheap if you like. On the other hand, I would say that those who are into tipping, even overtipping, must have their own personality quirks: "outgoing, dominating, social people" who enjoy special attention and see themselves as having a higher status than servers (to refer back to Prof Lynn's study mentioned above). It's not the greatest bugaboo, but I don't think tipping culture does much to promote social equality.

I always find it weird when people bring bottles of red to dim sum places but don't drink the tea. But then again, I realize that's just because I'm not used to it myself so why should I be so quick to judge right?
In my opinion, don't be so open-minded. It is weird! Or at least misguided. I can't think of a culture where people normally quaff CabSauv while munching on sweet porc buns, shrimp dumplings and lotus leaf rice packets. Yuck!

Yes, some reds might go with some dim sum dishes, if one really must have red wine. But in general the two aren't really compatible. Myself, I'd stick with tea or beer.

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A diatribe on the economic differences of tipping within various cultures is old news. Basically, we're talking about Toronto, not Senegal, when in Rome...?

Senegal's a nice place and, actually...:wink:[KevV gives a smug grin]... tipping ratios in Toronto and Dakar are quite similar - around 15%. Many places favoured by foreigners will include service charges in the bill, however, because of the French influence. That's better to me.

I don't believe the subject is old news either. Differences are interesting. Culture, cuisine and dining all go together.

Also, this hasn't been a 'diatribe' about differences between cultures. This has been about Toronto - dining here, and Winterlicious. Someone mentioned France and NonDoctor asked about other countries.

As for Rome - I haven't been there :cool: so someone else can fill us in.

Well....next time you're in Japan, buy an orange and give the guy a quarter because that's how much they are at the St Lawrence market.

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Well....next time you're in Japan, buy an orange and give the guy a quarter because that's how much they are at the St Lawrence market.
Hmm, you're right. Let's say the orange costs $1.00. I guess what I should do, then, is pay the poor fruit-seller $2.00. Then he would smile a lot, call me sir, and treat me better than the cheap customers who just pay a buck. I'd like that! :unsure:
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Well I guess I'm one of those people mentioned who only patronize such restaurants during winterlicious/summerlicious and almost never try them any other time. It's mostly because I'm a student, and this is one of the rare opportunities when I can dine at places that are simply out of my reach $$$-wise normally. I do at least order a glass of wine though, especially since I tend to dine alone for these events (most of my friends are students too and tend not to wanna spend too much for eating out).

I think in your position, instead of spending less at good restaurants with temporarily mediocre food, I would either a) look for places with better value (you can certainly get really really good food in Toronto without spending a ton), or b) skip Winter/Summerlicious and save up those expenses for one big full-menu meal somewhere. Yes I know it hurts to see a few hundred dollars disappear in one shot, but I think a good meal is totally worth saving for and spending on just like any other big-ticket item. And you can have a lot of fun with it if you make an event of it.

I guess what it comes down to is that I feel Winterlicious doesn't fit well _anywhere_ on the price-quality ("value") spectrum. It _sounds_ cheap, but the loss in quality of the food is more than the discount you get; and you have better value at either the high end (costs way more but the food is way better) or the low (food isn't quite as good but at least it doesn't cost $30+).

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Well....next time you're in Japan, buy an orange and give the guy a quarter because that's how much they are at the St Lawrence market.
Hmm, you're right. Let's say the orange costs $1.00. I guess what I should do, then, is pay the poor fruit-seller $2.00. Then he would smile a lot, call me sir, and treat me better than the cheap customers who just pay a buck. I'd like that! :unsure:

That's the spirit :biggrin:

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'Cheapskates' - I don't think GordonCooks was saying that people who don't order wine are cheapos.  I think the implication was that I am, or that others like me who complain about tipping are.  Or maybe hockey players.  I don't know.  But call me cheap if you like.  On the other hand, I would say that those who are into  tipping, even overtipping, must have their own personality quirks: "outgoing, dominating, social people" who enjoy special attention and see themselves as having a higher status than servers (to refer back to Prof Lynn's study mentioned above).  It's not the greatest bugaboo, but I don't think tipping culture does much to promote social equality.       

The doesn't make a difference to me - I guess I don't understand on getting so worked up about something like the tip. I enjoy dining, it's one of the few pleasure my hectic life allows me. I guess I just don't get so worked up over a buck or two. The reason I tip well is having worked in the industry many years ago - I can sympathize. I get more attention than I care to because I'm such an asshole anyway.

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That's interesting but I would say that, for me, the decision to order wine really depends on what I'm eating.  For example, you can pair some wines with curries if you really want, but I wouldn't normally get wine cravings with that sort of food.  Beer, sure, but not wine unless I was feeling experimental and probably at home.  On the other hand, if you have a steak with frites it'll seem pretty plain without vino.  A dish like that is basically designed to go with wine, and vice versa.

That's exactly my point. I've gone out with friends who don't care for wine even with a dish crying out for some like steak frites, mostly because in their culture (and I suppose in the one I've been brought up with), wine never figured into the equation. It was just about the food, and ONLY the food. The beverage never had to match any food or vice versa. In such an instance drinking ice water, iced tea or pop would be perfectly acceptable with any meal regardless of cuisine (Chinese herbal tea with lamb chops? Bring it on!).

'Cheapskates' - I don't think GordonCooks was saying that people who don't order wine are cheapos.  I think the implication was that I am, or that others like me who complain about tipping are.

Actually I wasn't trying to make a point about what GordonCooks said about tipping (just happened to use the same word he used, thus creating some confusion). I was directing my point to the general sentiment among waitstaff/other diners who seem to think a lot of winter/summerlicious diners who don't order drinks are cheap/not versed in fine dining culture, blah, blah, blah (which I guess some really are but not all). The whole point of bringing up the wine with dim sum issue is just to provide an example about how a particular culture would view another as weird because their dining practices are so different from one's own. My not wanting to judge is merely due to the fact that I understand that in some dining cultures, food & drink is closely-linked while in others it's not very important at all.

Such issues are immensely interesting to me partly due to the fact that I'm an anthropology major, and partly due to the fact that I come from a 'non-drinking' dining culture and have been influenced by the 'drinking' dining culture here to a certain degree. So it's quite fascinating to see how each side views the other and be able observe (somewhat) objectively how each group reacts to the others' practices. Maybe this is all slightly off-topic, but I do think this whole phenomenon really becomes more prominent during W/Slicious periods particularly because many people who normally don't drink with meals often go out to dine at places where they're expected to.

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Well I guess I'm one of those people mentioned who only patronize such restaurants during winterlicious/summerlicious and almost never try them any other time. It's mostly because I'm a student, and this is one of the rare opportunities when I can dine at places that are simply out of my reach $$$-wise normally....

I think that you are taking part in exactly the way that benefits restaurants. You may go back one day or at least you may tell others that you had a great time and good food and would go back but for your lack o cash and that helps the restaurants. :wink: Its all about word of mouth. I on the other hand go back for business and many other reasons on days where I am one of a few tables there on Mon. Tues. or Wed. night. During WL many places are packed every night, when it is not WL many places are very dead during the Sun-Weds so I think many restaurants win. If they did not why participate?

officially left egullet....

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I think in your position, instead of spending less at good restaurants with temporarily mediocre food, I would either a) look for places with better value (you can certainly get really really good food in Toronto without spending a ton), or b) skip Winter/Summerlicious and save up those expenses for one big full-menu meal somewhere.  Yes I know it hurts to see a few hundred dollars disappear in one shot, but I think a good meal is totally worth saving for and spending on just like any other big-ticket item.  And you can have a lot of fun with it if you make an event of it.

I guess what it comes down to is that I feel Winterlicious doesn't fit well _anywhere_ on the price-quality ("value") spectrum.  It _sounds_ cheap, but the loss in quality of the food is more than the discount you get; and you have better value at either the high end (costs way more but the food is way better) or the low (food isn't quite as good but at least it doesn't cost $30+).

I guess as a college student, it's pretty difficult to justify blowing a really big wad of cash on an expensive meal regardless of how much I save beforehand. While admittedly the food during winter/summerlicious at certain restaurants might not be of the same standard compared to normally, it does give me an opportunity to check out places which are usually not within my reach. I guess it's sorta one way I can 'educate' myself about 'fine food' (like how I'm going to Pangaea for dinner cuz they have a foie gras torchon starter and 'hey, I've never tasted foie gras before!') . At the end of the day, a 'so-so' summerlicious meal at Canoe for someone would still be damned fine one to me.

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Well I guess I'm one of those people mentioned who only patronize such restaurants during winterlicious/summerlicious and almost never try them any other time. It's mostly because I'm a student, and this is one of the rare opportunities when I can dine at places that are simply out of my reach $$$-wise normally....

I think that you are taking part in exactly the way that benefits restaurants. You may go back one day or at least you may tell others that you had a great time and good food and would go back but for your lack o cash and that helps the restaurants. :wink: Its all about word of mouth. I on the other hand go back for business and many other reasons on days where I am one of a few tables there on Mon. Tues. or Wed. night. During WL many places are packed every night, when it is not WL many places are very dead during the Sun-Weds so I think many restaurants win. If they did not why participate?

Exactly! :biggrin:

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I guess as a college student, it's pretty difficult to justify blowing a really big wad of cash on an expensive meal regardless of how much I save beforehand.
Oh don't be silly, my son. That is what OSAP is for! :smile:
I guess it's sorta one way I can 'educate' myself about 'fine food' (like how I'm going to Pangaea for dinner cuz they have a foie gras torchon starter and 'hey, I've never tasted foie gras before!') . At the end of the day, a 'so-so' summerlicious meal at Canoe for someone would still be damned fine one to me.
And of course it makes a fine break from beans 'n toast, Kraft dinner, Cora's Pizza, Subway, and chicken wings with beer - all student food 'classics' :wacko: around here.
I've gone out with friends who don't care for wine even with a dish crying out for some like steak frites, mostly because in their culture (and I suppose in the one I've been brought up with), wine never figured into the equation. It was just about the food, and ONLY the food.
Always interesting to see how food from 'non-drinking' cultures is cooked, I think. It's true that often there's less to add to the dining experience through your choice of beverage, which just ends up being water, a fruit juice, tea, or a lightly flavoured beer, or whatever. All the flavour already tends to be in the food - on purpose. Edited by KevV (log)
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GordieCooks writes:

I guess I don't understand on getting so worked up about something like the tip. I enjoy dining, it's one of the few pleasure my hectic life allows me. I guess I just don't get so worked up over a buck or two. The reason I tip well is having worked in the industry many years ago - I can sympathize. I get more attention than I care to because I'm such an asshole anyway.
Hmm, you say you worked in the industry, but I'm guessing as a 'front of the house' sort. I have, but in the back - with the honest blokes :smile:. Otherwise, I'm guessing you wouldn't 'sympathize' so much. I don't - not with the waiters.

Someone mentioned that it is customary in some restos to pool tips and then share with the kitchen lowlifes. But from what I know, if this happens at all (and it didn't where I worked), the lowly cooks receive no more than a token 5% of the night's haul. Result: waiters make 2x to 3x as much $$ per night (or more) when compared to the cooks, at least in my experience. And don't forget that the cooks are the important ones, the noble souls who toil with love and care and actually craft the fine dishes you consume. The waiters are mere delivery-people, who condescend to the kitchen, get the glory, and suck up the cash. They're just in it for the money.

So if you dine out during Winterlicious, and you really enjoy the food, please tip the kitchen. They'll probably be flummoxed, and then invest it in beer. :blink:

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GordieCooks writes:
I guess I don't understand on getting so worked up about something like the tip. I enjoy dining, it's one of the few pleasure my hectic life allows me. I guess I just don't get so worked up over a buck or two. The reason I tip well is having worked in the industry many years ago - I can sympathize. I get more attention than I care to because I'm such an asshole anyway.
Hmm, you say you worked in the industry, but I'm guessing as a 'front of the house' sort. I have, but in the back - with the honest blokes :smile:. Otherwise, I'm guessing you wouldn't 'sympathize' so much. I don't - not with the waiters.

Someone mentioned that it is customary in some restos to pool tips and then share with the kitchen lowlifes. But from what I know, if this happens at all (and it didn't where I worked), the lowly cooks receive no more than a token 5% of the night's haul. Result: waiters make 2x to 3x as much $$ per night (or more) when compared to the cooks, at least in my experience. And don't forget that the cooks are the important ones, the noble souls who toil with love and care and actually craft the fine dishes you consume. The waiters are mere delivery-people, who condescend to the kitchen, get the glory, and suck up the cash. They're just in it for the money.

So if you dine out during Winterlicious, and you really enjoy the food, please tip the kitchen. They'll probably be flummoxed, and then invest it in beer. :blink:

FOH? Nay I say! I've never waited a table in my life - the bulk of my time was spent behind the bar years ago but I still consider many hardworkin "cooks" as good friends and get drafted into duty at least once a month. I'm always more that happy to fill in for a sick line guy or work the off-site catering gig or cover for the a vacationing person. I still scatch my head as to why it's fun to be 12 tickets deep behind a blodgett the size of a grand piano.

Servers? there are good and bad just like anything else (I've thrown a spatula or two in my day) BUT, a good server is the face of your restaurant, direct customer contact. They will make or break the dining experience - personally, I'm someone who prefers to work in a 110 deg kitchen than have some jerkoff run my ass off all night and all I can do is smile and say "yes, ma'am"

Any cook worth his salt will work his way up the ladder, learning, developing, maturing, etc. I consider it a craft and work experience as training. Ultimatley, the goal is to run their own kitchen some day.

My other rule? heaven help the bartender who doesn't take care of the kitchen at the end of the night.

I guess I'm starting to see that it's more where you feel your money is going - to each is own but these things always have a way of working out. I'm friendly with both sides of this argument - the one common factor is that neither would trade places with the other.

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FOH? Nay I say! I've never waited a table in my life - - the bulk of my time was spent behind the bar years ago but I still consider many hardworkin "cooks" as good friends and get drafted into duty at least once a month.
My apologies, dear comrade. Perhaps I have misjudged you. Although, I still consider bartenders as FOH.
Servers? there are good and bad just like anything else (I've thrown a spatula or two in my day)
¡¡Olé!!
personally, I'm someone who prefers to work in a 110 deg kitchen than have some jerkoff run my ass off all night and all I can do is smile and say "yes, ma'am"
The 'jerkoff' being the customer, I presume. But what happens is customers dump on waiters, who in turn try and dump on cooks, who in turn yell at the poor dishwashers, who then break plates.

Ironically, I think the nasty customers have a reputation for being bigger tippers than the pleasant ones. I think it comes down to the status thing, as above.

My other rule? heaven help the bartender who doesn't take care of the kitchen at the end of the night.
Why's that? Hunger pangs? Edited by KevV (log)
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I went to Pangaea last Friday, and the experience was "good." I wasn't overwhelmed by the food/service, but it was a decent meal that allowed me to sample a place I wouldn't have normally chosen.

I had the following:

APPETIZER

Foie Gras Torchon, with mushroom salad, marmalade of onion, caraway melba toast

I found the fois gras quite tasty, although I am far from a connoisseur of the stuff. They were a bit stingy on the melba toast though - the four pieces I got had way too many holes for optimal fois gras coverage.

MAIN

Duck Confit

Duck legs on apple & cinnamon braised cabbage, roasted duck and juniper reduction

This was "good" but overall a bit of a disappointment compared to other duck confit I've had in the past. The edges were overcooked, and some bits of the portion were quite dry and stringy.

DESSERT

Sour Lemon Cake

With caramel whipped cream, and crisp demerara baked meringue

After seeing my friend's disgusted face with her portion, I was quite worried. To my surprise however, the cake was quite light and spongy, with just the right amount of moisture and sugar. The sauce accompanied the cake quite well, without overpowering the taste.

Overall Rating: 2.75/5

Next stop: Corner House on Feb 1st.

Anyone else want to post their reviews??????

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