There's a thing here . . . Bring Your Own or BYO . . .I guess it's available overseas as well but generally we don't go to restaurants who do not allow us to take our own wine. Mainly because we take better wine at half the cost and also because most restaurants inflate their wine prices to make up for any shortfall with the food. Most restaurants will still charge corkage but I don't mind that . . it covers the cost of the glassware, wait staff and washing up I suppose. I hate paying $35 for a bottle I can buy for $7 in the shop. So, Thursday night . . . four of us have arranged to have dinner. Thommo books the restaurant and I'm the designated driver.
It was a horrible night, pouring rain and wet roads. The sort of night you'd rather curl up on a couch but this particular combination of diners have a quarterly meeting arrangement so it wasn't to be avoided.
We arrived at a new restaurant called The Glass House only to be told that it wasn't BYO (even though it was when it first opened in January). Unhappy with that scenario we asked the decidedly bitchy waitress if she could make an exception on our behalf as there was only one other couple dining in the otherwise empty restaurant. "I'm sorry, but we can't make any exceptions, besides you should be here for the food!" she snapped in her veiled South African accent. "You wouldn't expect BYO at Trellinis or the Euro Lounge!" Fuck off! Like this place was anywhere near the calibre of those two. It was a glass box with a boring interior and no atmosphere. It's exactly because we were there for the food that we wanted to bring our own wine rather than pay inflated prices for their very ordinary wine list. So after a short and curt exchange, we told her in no uncertain terms to stick her overpriced winelist up her jumper, packed up bags and moved on to the Thai next door which was absolutely packed. No room at the inn so we moved on to an old fashioned but reliably good-value Italian restaurant, Bon Amici's. No problems there.
It's a 70's style, wholesome Italian and slightly gaudily decorated venue that's in need of a facelift and some new carpet. You know the type. Lots of red and gold and a funny sort of organza canopy draped across the ceiling. Immitation Eretrian masks adorn the wall and rather tatty looking candilabres on the mantle piece. Normally there's an exceptionally bad accordianist and keyboard player who has a backing track and forgets the words to the most basic of songs . . he's been there for ages . . .practically an installation and half the place's charm. It's the sort of place where you always run into someone you know and either join tables or have a quick chat whilst they pick up their take out pizza.
The wait staff are lovely, professional but friendly and nothing is too much trouble. We are immediately given cold, filtered water and our wine uncorked. Before long, the wholesome but tasty food arrived including a magnificent home made crab ravioli with a to-die-for creamy bisque and Veal Campagna . . . followed beautifully made Italian coffee - we had good conversation and great service. We weren't rushed and the meal was exceptionally satisfying and good value. Our only criticism, they had run out of after dinner chocolates. Struth Ruth was not impressed .. no chocolate with coffee will cost you your tip! So our delightful American waiter came forth with a small saucier of chocolate topping surrounded by hundreds and thousands . . .weird but innovative . . . at least he tried and Struth had her chocolate fix satiated.
So 'up yours' Glass House . . hope you made a bomb on the only two diners who patronised your establishment! Piss off one punter and they can influence 12 others. That night cost you some bad press and now 48 other people know not to bother!
I couldn't find an image so here's a joke:
A man enters an empty restaurant and sits down at a table. He is approached by renowned funnyman / actor Ricky Gervais.
The man is obviously surprised when Ricky asks him if he can take his order and asks him what he is doing waiting tables in a restaurant.
Ricky explains that he is researching a part in a new film as a waiter and is hoping to pick up some tips - in a spurious yet necessary to the joke-type way.
The man points at the fish tank behind him where there is one solitary green squid casually swimming round. The man is particularly taken by what appears to be a moustache on the squid's top lip. "I'll have that one please" he says.
"Oh no, I couldn't bring myself to kill him for you sir" explains Ricky. "That's Sammy, he's been here for years. He's got such a lovely temperament I just couldn't do it."
"Well is there anyone else here who could kill the squid for me? I am hungry you know!" said the man.
"As you can see, it's not busy tonight" said Ricky "So there's only me and our dishwasher Hans here now."
"Well can't this Hans fellow kill it for me then?" inquired the man.
"No I'm afraid not" said Ricky.
"Why not?" pleaded the man.
"Because" explained Ricky ................
"Hans that does dishes is as soft as Gervais, with the mild green hairy lipped squid!!!"