Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Bistro du Vin: take a tip from me

Sorry. I tripped about the tip.

So waiters don't get paid much. I know this because I've been one. But the thing is, most of them don't deserve any more. I didn't. I dropped a steak knife on a child's leg once and still got 10%.

It's totally bonkers. The nation is up in arms about bankers being given bonuses when they lose the equivalent of Luxembourg's GDP in one day, and yet I can serve a numblingly average meal and scar a child's thigh, and get a bonus without anyone batting an eye lid. Maybe the two scales aren't quite comparable, but the principles are.

And so, after a perfectly decent meal at the perfectly overpriced Bistro du Vin in Soho, I was furious to find that, with no warning whatsoever, a 12.5% tip had been added to our bill. Given that there were seven of us, and we spent £200, that was quite the tip.

To be fair the service was excellent. We never had an empty glass, there was always someone waiting to help if we had a question, and the food came pretty quickly. And when it did it was very good. I had gnocci in a goat's cheese sauce (the ingredients of which seemed to be just goat's cheese and heat) with wild mushrooms (rather than battery...?), which was nice enough, even if the gnocci stuck to the roof of my mouth more effectively than Fixodent. My friend's butternut squash ravioli, however, was sweet, subtle and cooked to perfection - al dente like the Italians do it so the pasta doesn't have the texture of an oyster. In fact, I forced my friend to trade dishes with me half way through. But then, at £14.50, I expected something in a different league to Tesco's £1.99 ravioli. And gun to my head I'd have to say I didn't really.

I should stop taking cheap shots. I didn't mind the prices, even the house wine at £18.50, and I probably wouldn't have found the tip quite so irksome if it hadn't taken the waiter 20 minutes to collect the money after handing us the bill - and if they hadn't come back to tell us we were 85p short.

Unlike the food, that seemed a little cheap.

36 Dean Street
0207 4324 800

Bistro du Vin on Urbanspoon

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