Everyone likes a bargain. So we were feeling a little pleased with ourselves yesterday. We’d booked a tasting of six wines plus canapés in a stylish new French wine bar-cum-restaurant in Brighton’s Lanes area – and all for £7.50 a head.
My partner had found the deal on Groupon, one of the websites that offers daily deals, where you can buy quality goods and services at highly discounted prices.
We invited two friends to join us on this particular deal at La Maison on East Street.
I became nervous when the canapés arrived. Many of them looked less like a chef had toiled over them in the kitchen and more like mum had been to Iceland.
The tasting itself got off to a bad start when the waitress brought the first wine: a merlot from the Pays d’Oc in southern France. Now, I’m not doing a Paul Giamatti in Sideways here (“If anyone orders merlot, I’m leaving”). I like merlot. It’s just that I have been to dozens of wine tastings over the years and never has one begun with red wine.
You always start with the whites and move on to the reds. You also move up within each colour, so that the final wine is the best of the lot.
Two further reds came, then a rosé, and finally a couple of white wines. The grand finale was an entry level chardonnay from Burgundy.
By this time we had been there for two and a half long hours.
Restaurants run these deals as a loss leader – in the hope that you’ll like what you try and return again and pay full price. Despite the much-needed injection of charm and professionalism from our third waitress of the afternoon, I’d have to rate the likelihood of our going back no higher than a maybe.