Turning a “major cock-up” into a benefit is something akin to turning water into wine for diners at Manchester’s exclusive Establishment restaurant over the next few weeks.
Having failed to get a drinks licence renewal for the Spring Gardens venue, customers can this week take along their own booze on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Even better – there’s no spurious corkage charge.
And with such delicacies as tartare of hand dived scallops, chilled English pea veloute, Oscietra caviar, peashoots and black truffle (£11.50) or poached saddle of French rabbit, cured ham, lasagne, wild mushrooms, polenta, salad of pea shoots and sugar snap peas (£24) on the menu, it seems like an irresistible opportunity to keep the bill price down.
As a potential customer of head chef Davey Aspin’s treats, the only downside to this story is that normal service at Establishment, with wine at up to £120 a bottle, is expected to be resumed on September 4.
But it also makes me wonder why restaurants don’t do this as a matter of course. Surely a couple of days a week when diners wouldn’t feel they had to pay out for over priced drinks but could still enjoy good food and conviviality could be a way of attracting new customers during those quiet midweek nights.