Straight off a late flight and to our apartment in an area we didn't know, thinking we might not find anywhere to eat, four of us were delighted to find Chez Maurice and to have a plate of good cheese and bread and some very good wine at 22euros a bottle. One of us is vegetarian, not ideal in Germany, so a couple of nights later we went back to Maurice where they were happy to put together vegetarian accompaniments to some of the other dishes which made a good meal. However that followed a miserable chevre chaud, the standby of the unimaginative French kitchen for non-meat eaters. None of it was cheap.
But the problem this time was the wine. First we had a bottle of what we'd had the night before, then - so this was probably partly our fault - we asked for a red Nimes from the non-specialist list (by that time the top-notch specialist wine list had been taken away). A red duly arrived and we drank it - nice but not special. When the bill came the unspecific red cost 40 euros. We queried this and were shown it on the menu - we hadn't seen it and certainly hadn't asked for it. We'd relied on the nice young (English and German but not French-speaking) waiter, who didn't give the impression of knowing much about the wine list.
When we expressed surprise at this price, the waiter disappeared, spoke to the French patronne (not the one who'd been there on our first visit) and said we could pay 22euros, which is what we had expected to pay, and he would pay the rest. Knowing what waiters are generally paid, we felt this was unjust, so we agreed to pay up. We were left feeling this was a contrived solution, and it left a bad impression.
A shame, because on the strength of our first visit - charming people, simple but good and reasonable food and wine (well, if 22euros if reasonable for wine, but that's what restaurants do) we would have recommended this as a nice neighbourhood bistro. The business of the 40euro bottle means we can't.
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