Jane Bradley: Being tapped for a glass of water just isn’t good enough

I HAVE always been confused by the concept of paying for water.It comes out of the tap free of charge – in a country where we have one of the best and most reliable water supplies in the world.

I feel there is nothing wrong with asking for a free glass of water in a restaurant if you are already paying for a meal or other drinks. In fact, north of the Border, it is the law if an establishment serves alcoholic drinks.

However, there are exceptions. Obviously, it is perfectly acceptable for shops to charge for a bottle of water. I also believe it is fine for a pub or bar to refuse to serve someone only tap water if they do not buy anything else.

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What I do object to, however, is being tricked into paying for water.

During lunch at Yo! Sushi in Edinburgh this week, we helped ourselves to a single glass of water each from the tap on the table, assuming, as you might, that it was tap water. It was not chilled, it was not served by a waiter or waitress and did not come with any extra accoutrements such as ice or lemon.

What we did not realise, was that in fact, it was oh so special Yo! Sushi “triple filtered” water, for which we would be charged £1.05 each – and from which we were entitled to unlimited refills.

There was nothing on the tap which told us we would be charged – and the other items to which we were able to help ourselves were all free of charge – soy sauce, wasabi, napkins, chopsticks...

The only way we may have twigged was if we had studied the drinks menu, which does list the “triple filtered” council pop, alongside the usual staples and a 500ml bottle of Harrogate bottled water, which at £1.30, was only marginally more expensive.

Yo! Sushi insists that its serving staff are trained to inform customers that there is a charge for the water – and that it serves tap water on request. We were definitely not informed of the charge – nor have we been on previous occasions, remaining under the impression that the water was free. Previous visits have often been in larger groups when a few pounds for water went unnoticed.

Not good enough, Yo! Sushi – drop the triple filtered nonsense – no-one cares.