A restaurant has been ordered to abandon its list-free wine ordering system after it was found to be a violence-inducing scam.
All about the wine
The Domaine des Ouainquers in Little Cruddington, Suffolk, dispensed with wine lists last year, with sommeliers instead asking customers to describe how they were feeling and then selecting a wine to fit their mood.
Head sommelier Andre Tire-Bouchon told Fake Booze that ‘removing the ‘list’ element of the wine list really helped people to focus on the wine’.
But after police were called to the venue for the fifth time in a week, magistrates have ordered the venue to return to a conventional printed wine list or face closure.
‘Basically, when we told customers there was no wine list, and asked them to tell us how they were feeling so we could choose a wine for them, most of them said ‘I was fine, but now I’m bloody angry – just give me the stupid wine list why don’t you?’’ said owner Pru Tentious.
Common responses to ‘how are you feeling’ included ‘beginning to wonder why I came here in the first place’, ‘kinda sexy whaddya say we get it on?’ and ‘in need of my medication to stem the rising tide of fury that might cause me to burn this place to the ground and get me banged up. Again.’
Jedi Wine Trick
According to student of restaurant history Simon Schwarma, the ‘list-free wine list’ concept originated in California in the Star Wars fine dining scene of the 1980s.
‘Sommeliers who were practising to be jedis would use the Force to intuit customer wishes,’ he told Fake Booze.
‘After using the ‘Jedi wine trick’, they’d tell them ‘Napa Cabernet you want, 16% alcohol it is and look too closely at the price must you not.’’
Customers at Domaine des Ouainqueurs, however, said they were convinced the whole thing was a scam.
‘I told them I was feeling excited, my partner told them she was tired, and the table next to us were quietly reflecting on the memories of a deceased relative,’ said diner John Public. ‘But all of us got a bottle of Rioja.
‘I wouldn’t have minded, but I was eating cod.’
Subsequent investigations by trading standards officers revealed that the restaurant did not have 400 wines, as promised, only six, which they rotated from one night to the next.
‘I had my suspicions that this whole list-free thing was a con right from the start,’ said restaurant critic Ray Jayner.
‘It’s clearly ridiculous expecting sommeliers to choose a wine to fit a customer’s mood. Not least because that would involve them having to listen to what people say.’
Ms Tentious defended the lack of choice by saying that most customers ‘can’t tell the difference between a Barolo and a bar of soap in any case’ and said that they were planning to press ahead with their next venture.
‘It’s a menu-free bar where our highly skilled mixologists make you a cocktail by reading your aura,’ she told Fake Booze.
‘I can tell that yours is a mojito.
‘Just like everyone else’s.’
Click here to read about the rise of robot sommeliers