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20/Vins: more like 12/20

A couple of days prior to our departure to Annecy, I was in a small panic. The couple of restaurants I’ve researched on and tried to reserve tables for were closed for the week when we would be in town, and compounded with the presence of the labour day bank holiday, I needed new alternatives quickly. I looked into Gault & Millau and was happy to find a highly recommended restaurant (5 toques!) in the historic centre with a clever name to boot.

Wine bar

Wine bar

20/Vins is a play on the perfect score of 20/20 within the French system and the word wine. It is primarily a wine bar, but hey, coupled with delicious food, we’ve got a winner on hand, no? I guess that would be too good to be true. Our Airbnb hosts had never heard of this place, and Marc has experience in the wine industry, even if his main business focus is on Sino-Franco business-relationship consultancy…

The manner this wine bar operates is, honestly, an innovative one. A good selection of wine are made available by the glass, in three different quantity (depending on how generously you like your tipple) and you’ll be charged accordingly. Worry not about having to pay for every glass one by one etc. A specially assigned card is given at the reception, which is then inserted into the machine to record the by-glass purchases. This whole paying without cash concept could make it terribly easy to overindulge, perhaps even sobering you up when you’re ready to leave and the total is being rung up.

Wine bar

Wine bar

That evening, a lone waitress in the restaurant side, with occasional help from her colleague at the wine bar, looked after the diners. The evening set menu options looked interesting enough, and with two choices per course for a 3-course meal, F and I ordered one of each item to maximise our degustation pleasure. In the mean time, we settled in with a glass of wine each, looking forward to a delicious meal.

Our starters came along shortly. I had ordered soldier and egg, which was always fun to dip in, but without a small spoon, it was difficult to finish it up. A small oversight, nothing that cannot be remedied by requesting for one. F’s salmon cannelloni turned up more like pieces of sushi, but they tasted good, so this little deviation of appearance didn’t make much difference to us.

Wine bar

Wine bar

Wine bar

However, we were less than happy with our main courses. Risotto, presented as a specialty (there’s a whole section in the menu about its risotto and the choices for made-to-order risotto), was not only undercooked, but it was also bland and its portion so small that all it took was about 4-5 bites to clear the plate. I barely stole a small fork-tip of it to try, or I’d be depriving F of his dinner. F even pondered this was made from a frozen pack of risotto…

My lamb tajine looked rather sad in an undersized dish (thus made the meat look gigantic) with overcooked couscous, peppered with a few grain of raisins. To give you some idea of size, see the water glass next to the plates – the diameter of my dish was about twice of the glass at its widest part. And that was standard size glass really. Just as well meat is a bit more filling, not to mention I had a very late lunch that day, so I shared the tajine with F.

Wine bar

Wine bar

Wine bar

Things picked up again came dessert time, but our evening was sort of ruined. Even apple tart and fruity soup with fluffy cream couldn’t make things right. It was not a dinner worth the €29 price tag per set menu. It took a further 10 minutes wait by the reception/cashier to pay for our meal, as the staff were a tad occupied with a group of wine drinkers who had just came in for the evening.

Anxious to get back to these customers, we were afforded the time for the machine to spit out our bill and for the card machine to process our payment. Nary a single query as to how the meal went. A perfunctory thank you later, we were sent our way. They have a long way to go before they’d achieve 20/20 – more like 12/20 (assuming linear proportionality) based on our experience – and we would not recommend it to anyone looking for a meal. In the mean time, I learned that the blessing of Gault & Millau needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.


All posts in this series:
Annecy: Lake Annecy | Flickr Photoset
Annecy: A very picturesque Annecy | Flickr Photoset
Annecy: 20/Vins: more like 12/20
Annecy: Hiking the Annecy-Sévrier way | Flickr Photoset
Annecy: Lunch at La Ciboulette
Annecy: Biking around Lake Annecy | Flickr Photoset

Category: Food & Drink

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4 scribbles & notes

  1. medca says:

    first time i have seen such a bad review here…must be very bad indeed hoohooo

  2. sila says:

    bummer! see, you can’t have more than one Vin. the original Vin is a 20/20 by himself. ;) but seriously though, too bad about the dinner.

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