A restaurant that faced a social media backlash for charging £1.50 for grated Parmesan, Ombra in Hackney, London, has hit back, telling Catering Today its “Parmigiano is not a commodity product”.
Customer Rosie French posted a complain on Twitter comparing parmesan to harissa oil (used in kebabs), and claimed the charge for the cheese “wasn’t mentioned to us” and the grating was “awkward” and “painfully slow”.
The head chef at Ombra, Mitshel Ibrahim, told Catering Today he did not think this was “a fair comparison”.
Any thoughts on this “parmisan supplement” @jayrayner1? Wasn’t mentioned to us during the awkward, painfully slow, grating at the table. Would have let her carry on had we known! pic.twitter.com/jjfie11oAR
— Rosie French (@rosiefrenchfood) April 24, 2018
Ibraham said French had been “accidentally overcharged”, but confirmed the restaurant does charge “a small supplement” if extra Parmigiano is requested.
Food critic Jay Rayner got involved in the debate on Twitter, saying: “Where in god’s name was this?” However Ibrahim told Catering Today the establishment has had “overwhelming support from people that actually work in the industry”.
Where in gods name was this?
— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) April 24, 2018
He added: “Our Parmigiano is from a small family caseificio making four cheeses a day, aged by fifth generation affinatore Giorgio Cravero in Bra, Piemont and imported by Neal’s Yard Dairy. Next time you go an Italian restaurant and they offer free parmesan, ask where its from and see if they can tell you.”