/ Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure

Did you get the food and drink you ordered from the menu?

choosing from the menu

A meal or drink out is a nice treat. But faced with so many options on the menu and a small window to decide what to have, how much attention do you actually pay to what you ordered?

I love eating out – it’s an opportunity to relax and enjoy someone else’s cooking! And because I’m happy to eat pretty much anything, I rarely pay too much attention to what I order.

However, I have a friend who meticulously studies the menu whenever we’re out for a meal. For her, it isn’t just the decision on what to have, but also an exercise in making sure she gets exactly what she ordered.

Food orders

I once joked that she should just take a photo of the menu on her phone and compare the food when it arrived.

But I now wonder if she may be on to something.

Not so long ago, a group of us were out for brunch. When our meals arrived, my clued-up friend spotted that each dish was different to the menu description. Two of the full English breakfasts lacked bacon and toast; a pancake stack was made up of three pancakes instead of the advertised five; and the orange juice we’d ordered was missing.

Now, I’ve spotted missing items a few times with takeaways, but I figure that you order so many items that it must be easy for one or two things to get missed. But I wonder if I should pay closer attention to the menu, especially as this isn’t exclusive to food orders.

And to drink…

Another friend of mine (who formerly worked in a pub so has some insider knowledge) told me that often the wine you order isn’t exactly what arrives on your table. This is especially so if you order by the glass, where the wine is poured away from your table.

So I tested out his tip. While out with my other half, we ordered a bottle of wine and kept hold of wine list. The wine appeared and the waiter started to open it, but just before he did, we asked to see the bottle. Lo and behold, it was a completely different bottle to the one we’d ordered and we very nearly ended up paying more for a cheaper bottle of wine.

I tested the theory again last weekend at a nice pub, but it had the reverse effect.

I ordered a bottle of wine at the bar, the bottle was fetched and the waiter started to open it. Again, it turned out to be the wrong bottle, but this time, they wanted me to pay more for it. Pointing out that I should expect to get what I ordered, they eventually agreed that they either had to open the correct, cheaper bottle of wine for me or sell me the opened, more expensive bottle for the same price as the one I’d originally ordered.

I ended up with the listed £30 bottle of wine for £19. While I considered that a bargain, my helpful and knowledgeable wine friend pointed out the retail price was probably around the £5 mark. 😩

So have you ever had a wrong order appear in a restaurant? What did you do?


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I notice very small things thing that others do not see so if anything is wrong I usually notice .I then ask why .Sometimes I accept a reasonable explanation but expect some thing to be done to put thing right If they will not do anything I ask why quietly the if nothing is done raise my voice so that others can hear If nothing is done or is unacceptable I use my legs and walk away never to go there again Some places do not want to lose any custom but others do not care at all

I suspect your alcohol problem is fairly common, Lauren. And the mark up on restaurants on any alcohol is so high we always only have a single glass of the house wine, so we can’t be disappointed 🙂

The food issue, on the other hand, is complicated by the somewhat fanciful names on the menu for really quite ordinary dishes. Hard to know what “Duo of Beef Braised Black Angus Short Ribs With Carrot Puree, Chanterelles Seared Wagyu Tenderloin with Deconstructed Fava Bean, Bone Marrow Pommes Dauphines” actually is. And good luck checking on whether your Pommes Dauphines actually have any Bone Marrow…

Of course, you can finish off with New York New Jersey stuffed-clam treatment with lemon foam. I’ll take mine to go…

It is always worth checking the vintage on bottles especially if ordering wine like Pinot Grigio that doesn’t taste good after 2 or 3 years. You will often be brought an older bottle than is advertised on the wine list.

I have come to the conclusion fancy names are to disguise cheap food and small portions prissied (new word 🤔) up to command high prices. Cheeks seem to be on every menu these days. After watching some of these wondrous creations on Masterchef, the amount of man-handling they get just makes me cringe.

If you are allergic to dairy, a good chef will make a dairy-free version for you but many restaurants just leave off the dairy part. They don’t reduce the bill though.

Perhaps that is why we don’t like Pinot Grigio. We have never bought any but been offered it many times at social events or when others have ordered the wine. Must have been old stock. How did it become so popular? I expect it is cheap.

My biggest problem is steaks that are not cooked as requested. Asking for medium-rare often produces something that would be better described as cremated, and on one occasion resulted in something approximating to raw.

It would be interesting to know what rights customers have when ordering wine in a restaurant. I once ordered an expensive bottle and, the bottle having been opened, I was invited to taste it; I considered it to be corked but the manager said there was nothing wrong with it. I refused to pay and headed for the door. The manager said he would call for the police! Stupidly, I agreed to wait and when the policeman arrived he suggested we both abide by his decision, which we did. He said I should pay for another bottle at shop prices (less than half the restaurant price), which I did, but took it away. Clearly there is no point in being asked to taste the wine if the restaurant chooses to ignore a negative response.