A watery encounter

(Stock image)

An enjoyable dinner at Sydney restaurant Kensington Street Social (KSS) recently was marred by the fact that my group was charged for tap water. It was the first time I’d encountered this. A check with restaurant critic friends confirmed that this is rare.

We should have read the bill more closely at the time: it wasn’t until next day I discovered we’d been charged $15 for three $5 carafes of tap water. Or at least we asked for tap water, and at the time we believed that’s what we were drinking.

It’s not as if we skimped: we bought two bottles of pinot noir at AUD $80 each, and we all ate the degustation menu – AUD $80 a head. Total bill: AUD $421.25 for three. (If you’re wondering what the AUD $6.25 was for, it was a credit card surcharge!) We also left a tip.

A phone call to KSS yielded little clarity. The man on the end of the phone said it was normal practice to charge for bottled still or sparkling water (of course) but he was vague about tap water.

When asked what they normally serve in carafes, he wouldn’t commit himself to saying it was tap water, but my impression is that it was filtered tap water. Who would bother to decant bottled still water into a carafe, anyway?

“I’m not sure what you were served because I wasn’t there,” he said.

I wonder if any readers have encountered this phenomenon?

2 thoughts on “A watery encounter”

  1. debs.h says:

    I’s say you were charged $5 per person for unlimited filtered still water, which most likely did come out of the tap originally (before filtering of course)!! See base of the menu on the following link…http://kensingtonstreetsocial.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/KSS.ALC_.140617.pdf
    You would think the person who answered the phone would have been able to answer your query with some more acumen and care factor, whether he was there or not. I’d rather see this than mineral water (still or sparkling) from Italy, but again, they need to be much clearer in their delivery.

  2. Gillman Ken says:

    I guess glasses have to be provided and washed, and if it is filtered, as many people seem to prefer now, the capital cost and maintenance of the equipment is significant – but they need to be clear and upfront if that is what they choose to do. Beer is sometimes cheaper than water. Remember, in the middle ages when water was often a health risk, most manor houses would brew what was called ‘small beer’ (hence the expression we still use today); it was like gnat’s piss, 2% and watery, but it kept the bugs at bay!

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