Tag Archives: restaurants

A watery encounter

An enjoyable dinner at Sydney restaurant Kensington Street Social recently was marred by the fact that my group was charged for tap water.

Vintage matters

I get frustrated when I see a sweeping disclaimer on the bottom of a wine list simply stating that ‘vintages are subject to change’.

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Head for the Hunter

The Hunter Valley gets its name from Captain John Hunter who was Governor of the British colony in New South Wales at the time (1797). The region had been occupied by Aboriginal tribes at least 30,000 years before European settlement. The sprawling valley extends from 120 km to 310 km north of Sydney. It’s an easy two hour drive from Sydney giving weekend access to Sydney-siders wishing to change the fast pace of city life for tranquil, verdant countryside. Coal mining, wine growing and tourism fuel the economic growth of the region.

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The retail and restaurant disconnect

If you frequent fine restaurants and bottle-shops, as I do, you can’t fail to have noticed a breathtaking disconnect between the wines they stock. There’s a widening gap between the wines available in retail stores and those served by top-end restaurants. It sometimes seems as

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Service with a smile

There are many things worth celebrating about life in the 21st century. One of the greatest advances in the past few decades is the increase in the quality of service in restaurants. And it’s all been done without the introduction of tipping although an increasing number of customers are now acknowledging exemplary service by adding a few dollars to the bill. It’s a shame that no one deducts a few dollars for poor service.

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How to order wine in a restaurant without looking like an idiot

Restaurants can be stressful places. I remember suffering from a bad bout of menu stress during my first trip to France when my wife, Marion, and I visited a restaurant in the Algerian section of Bordeaux. The menu was in French and my school French wasn’t up to the job of translation. Marion ordered successfully but the waiter couldn’t understand me. My palms grew moist when first the chef, then the owner arrived at our table to help interpret my order. Beads of perspiration trickled down my cheeks when several customers joined the throng. Finally the chef silenced everyone. He looked at me and made the sound of a chicken, a lamb and a cow. I replied with a feeble “Baaaa”. There was much rejoicing, everyone shook hands and I was duly served a plate of roast lamb (without veges). By then I’d lost my appetite.