Payment in Loo!

December 21st, 2011

Notto be outdone, however, the Japanese have beaten the golden loo hands down (ormaybe I should say “trousers down”). The Telegraph ran an articletoday entitled “Japan builds lavatory encrusted with diamonds” and I amexpecting no jokes about the Man with the Golden Bum or such like. this crystalloo has no fewer than 72,000 Swarovski crystals and is valued at over £64,000. Vajazzlethat Essex!

Accordingto the article, the crystal loo is dedicated to the god of lavatories (whoeverthat might be) and is intended to draw more customers to a posh shoppingdistrict, “in a year fraught with economic gloom and natural disaster”. There’snothing like a crystal loo to make you forget the recession and go shopping!

Maybe,depending on the exact positioning of the crystals, you can gaze into them andsee your future … or your past … or your bottom if the light is right?

OneJapanese woman was reported to have said that she’d like to invite her friendsand hold a party around it. That’s women for you. they just love having a partyin the loo – in case you wondered why they take so long in there.

Toiletshave certainly come a long way since Roman times when they were made fromstone, and patrons sat next to each other without any division walls, beforewiping their behinds with a sponge on a stick.

Butone thing the Romans did well was Wine – the drink, not the emotion.

Andwhilst I seem to have taken ages to get to the point of this month’s blog, wehave now finally arrived at “Wine”.

AmI the only one in the restaurant industry prepared to admit that wine is mysterious?

Allthat sniffing like a cat on heat, swirling it around your tongue and thenspitting it into a silver bowl. Why do we do that? because allegedly, therecould be anything in there as wine suppliers don’t have to put a list ofingredients on the bottle. Remember the “cat litter” in the bottle scandal of2008 when the Australian Wine Research Institute announced a list of around 40 “acceptable”chemicals in wine, including bentonite – an absorbent material, used incat litter, which helped remove excess protein from white wine.

Inthe same article, The Mail claimed that the wine industry was “populated byliars, scroungers and cheats, administered by charlatans and snake-oil salesmanand run on a system of misrepresentation and ritualised fraud”, or was thatbanking?

Takethat you twitchy-nosed sommeliers with your little silver grape lapel badges andcondescending attitude.

Butdoes it have to be like that? Or is there a new breed of honest sommelierwilling to share their knowledge with you?

TatlerMagazine were kind enough to bestow their Sommelier of the Year award on ourhead sommelier at L’Orangera couple of years ago and the young man concerned was certainly no snake-oilsalesman. he made the entire wine experience a thrill for all and the “theatre”of knowledgeable wine service was certainly not lost on our customers.

Sowhat if you could secretly check on your sommeliers? Underhand? maybe. but nomore so than Mystery Diners who check on everything else you do, at your request,to make sure you stay at the top of your game.

Wellnow there is a new service out there called Mystery Winer which I imagine is the kind of wine equivalent of Top Gearwhere a mystery man in a crash helmet, known as The Stig, races cars around atrack to see what they’re made of.

Would you let this man taste your wine?!

MysteryWiner guarantees anonymity in their reports so only the owners or operators getto see all the gory details.

Nowowners can check on their sommelier or wine service team to make sure they arejust screwing the corks and not the wine margins.

Rumourhas it that the “Wine Stig” must be French or even that he is the illegitimatelove child of Jilly Goolden and Oz Clarke, born with advanced sense of smelland taste (except in clothes and helmets, obviously).

Iremember attending a rather posh wine tasting in my early days as a partner ina City firm of lawyers. The senior partners were all sniffing and swirlingwhilst I gulped a glass of white in ignorance. “What did you think of thebouquet?”, the wine expert asked me, condescendingly. Glancing around the roomfor a bouquet of flowers, I had no idea what he was talking about and so, in a vaineffort to redeem myself, said “Lovely. It reminded me of Liebfraumilch”. Youcould have heard a pin drop. It was like someone had brought a bacon sandwichto a barmitzvah. “Liebfraumilch!”, exclaimed the expert, tidying away his propsin disgust, “I ‘ave never been so insulted”.

Howwas I to know that liebfraumilch was actually wine made from sweeping up theleftovers off the floor – it tasted perfectly fine to me at under £3 for a bottleof Blue Nun! oh, the good old Eighties. The flares … the shoulder pads … KnightRider … the Six Million Dollar Man – or in my case the six million dollardivorce (if my ex wife and her lawyers had had their way!).

Andnow, as it’s nearly Christmas, it’s time to round off with a quick Christmassyjoke:

“Whyis Christmas just like a day at the office?  because you do all the work and the fat guywith the suit gets the credit!”

Payment in Loo!

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