Recently Andrew and I were looking for dinner in the city and decided to visit Coda – we had been before many moons ago and loved it, and a recent dinner there with friends confirmed that it’s a great place to go. It also has the distinction of housing the Age Good Food Guide’s Sommelier of the Year – Travis Howe, as well as being awarded Brown Brothers Wine List of the Year.
We were set up at a table in the main dining room and we ordered a few things to start…
Blackened Quail, daikon and shiso salad
Tempura bugs, Roy Choi’s kimchi, chilli salt and soy dipping sauce
Love, love, love bugs – one of my favourite pieces of seafood.
Char Siu Pork Bun, with pickled vegetables and chilli jam
This is Coda’s version of the steamed buns that are all the rage. It’s a great version, pretty substantial, and delicious!
And now this is where things unravelled… moving onto our main – a great, feisty duck curry which I completely forgot to take a photo of, Andrew decided to amp up his wine to a cabernet sauvignon or equivalent. We asked for and accepted our waiter’s advice and he poured our wine… a glass of Bordeaux that we were then charged $20 for. I’m not worried about paying $20 for a glass of wine – but look at the amount in the glass. We thought it was some mistake… but were too dumbfounded to make a point of it. This is about 90ml of wine… which I know because I have the same glasses at home, so I did a little experiment and I measured out the amount. Lucky I had a photo to refer to.
Now, 90ml would be fine if you were having a degustation menu – but really, 90ml for a standard glass is ridiculous! Research tells me that the standard industry pour should be between 125 and 150ml for wines by the glass. This way – the bottle divides nicely into 5 or 6 glasses of wine. 90ml pours give you 8.3 glasses – or ups your profit by another 38% (on top of the industry standard of 200-300%).
I have to apologise to Coda, because I didn’t bring it up at the time – and I know restaurants hate it when bloggers call them out on things in a public forum. But what would the waiter have said to us anyway? “That’s our standard pour”? Excuse my scepticism, but I doubt the answer would have been – “Oh my goodness, sorry – I meant to open another bottle and top that up”. Fact is… he didn’t actually empty the other bottle. I suspect – whatever was going to be said, would have left us somewhat dissatisfied. But maybe I’m being unfair…
The other comparison point is that, as you dear readers are aware, we eat out a fair bit (Cue: Understatement of the year). That does mean we have a bit of an intuitive sense and some good experience about what a standard pour is in a restaurant. So, I don’t think we’re being overly sensitive or naïve about it.
Anyhoo… sorry this blog has turned into a rant about wine pours in restaurants. However, this one little experience has sadly put a bit of a taint on my feelings about Coda. That one pour of wine came across as being incredibly stingy. When I go out for dinner, what I’m looking for is that sense of being nurtured and looked after. In this case, I felt a little cheated and a tad offended. Who knew that a 40ml shortfall could have such an effect! Here’s a link to a New York Times article that sums it all up quite nicely…. perhaps Coda needs to have a read…