Sometime ago, actually a very long time ago, I read a restaurant review that referred to the water test, how they judged the standard of service on how long it took before they were offered water after they sat down. For some reason this has stuck in my head.
This is something you probably never have to concern yourself with in the United States because every place I have been to there always offers you water as soon as you walk in. If they aren’t serving food, they are literally carrying around water jugs constantly filling up your glass. Bit what I imagine being in a German beer barn is like during Octoberfest but instead of beer, it’s about the water. Of course, in the US they work for tips so lack of service wouldn’t come into the picture very often.
But in Australia, the water test does work. I often forget to drink water during the day so I think it’s great that I can go somewhere and get some of my daily water intake.
How great are pubs and bars that have help-yourself “water stations”? The Raccoon Club in Plenty Road, Preston, even has a very special fancy tap in the middle of the bar you fill your glass with. Why should I have to stand in line to ask for a glass of water behind someone who has ordered 2 beers, 3 wines, a bourbon and coke AND pays by credit card?
Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with tap water. Which is why it really annoys me that when you go to a fancier restaurant, they assume you want to PAY for the privilege of drinking water. “Still or sparkling?” they will ask pompously. “Actually, tap please,” I generally respond. But, irrespective of this, if they ask you if you want water as you sit down or soon after, it’s often a positive sign the rest of their service is good.
Better still, if you go to a full service place, they don’t even bother asking. Part of their greeting process includes a jug of water and glasses together, with the menu, at your table pronto! And, if you have the need to feel a little posh, you can order the Perrier.
If restaurants are clever enough to realise this, serving water might actually mean you can justify ordering that extra glass of wine. Not only does my body get the extra benefit of being hydrated (by water not wine, the wine just makes me happier), the restaurant can get that little extra cash from me.
It’s a win win situation.