Friday, March 13, 2009
ITS STILL ALL GREEK TO ME
Last year I wrote about the difficulties experienced in trying to order wine at a local Greek restaurant/winebar. They had a lot of teething problems initially and a high turnover of staff. They seem to have gotten over a lot of the problems and there seems to be a stable staff complement (they look like family). The place is very pleasant but, there are some annoying things still. Over the last few months they have experimented with special offers, obviously due to some consultant's advice. One of these experiments was offering free bread and dips platters with your wine. This was fine as it went as the toasted flatbreads and 4 different dips were fabulous (the eggplant dip was truly the best dip I have ever had) but they would have had to be about $15 worth on the list. We only ever buy 2 glasses of wine each.
The practice was discontinued after a few weeks as it must have been costing them too much. At the moment they are running 'Happy Hour' pricing until 7PM (we go Thursdays so I don't know if this is daily). 'Happy Hour' pricing is the domain of the desperate. Why would this be offered if people are coming in anyway. If it attracts people (who have somehow heard about it) it will only attract cheap bastards. I can never understand it. Gary and I go there every week, we are prepared to pay normal prices so why discount it? The discounting is a bit erratic I must admit. Last night two glasses of wine that had a list price of $24 was sold for $18 but in the next round two glasses of wine with a list price of $26 was sold for $13.
The staff and owner now recognize us and he has twice offered us 'the next drink on the house'. Twice we have declined the offer as we have only ever wanted two glasses each and besides, I'd rather pay for my wine and not feel beholden. re the wine, the list started out as very comprehensive with some very nice offerings (cosmetic only though as the staff in the early days could never find the right one to serve or it took ages, or would pour a tap beer when you asked for a zinfandel). The list has now been shrunk to a one sided A4 sheet with mediocre offerings. This is always an indication of the success or otherwise of an establishment. I like Chardonnay (Gary likes anything cheap). The Chardonnay offerings are 3 Marlborough Chardonnays and one crappy NZ East Coast blend. Who is the wine advisor here? Marlborough is a great place and produces excellent aromatic whites and Pinot noir but is not my first choice for Chardonnay. Hawkes Bay, Gisborne or even Waiheke is better. So, I order a Mud House Chardonnay followed by a Stoneleigh Pinot Noir (both OK but not very exciting, enjoy the ambiance and Gary's company (although he thrashed me at snooker)and declined the offer of a free third drink and free bread and dips.