A London restaurant owner has been forced to defend his “perky” menu after offended customers accused him of making them feel “guilty” by only ordering water with their meal. Jane Breeds and her boyfriend visited Danish steakhouse Köd London in north-east London on November 12 to enjoy their all-you-can-eat barbecue dinner.

But they were stunned to find a note on the £30-per-person menu warning: “You can have tap water… but please remember we run a restaurant, not a charity – wink, wink.” It continues: “If you just want tap water, we recommend you donate £1 to the Red Cross.” “Everybody wins”.

The 27-year-old claims she and her partner made it a point not to buy a drink for this reason, but to order a mug of tap water instead. Despite paying a 15 per cent fee for the “good service”, Jane took to social media later that night to dismiss the news as “wild behaviour”.

The official has since branded the donation request “guilty” and “cheeky” as they spent £60 at the swank venue. However, Morten Ortwed, owner of Köd, responded to the criticism and claimed that his restaurant cannot offer the “big” exclusive Sunday offer if no one buys drinks.

He adds that the note is about “Danish humour” and admits he has “something to learn” about working in the UK. The chain founder only opened the London branch in March after working in Denmark and Norway for more than ten years.

Kod London’s tap water note on Sunday’s menu caused controversy due to its Danish humour

Morten (38) and Jane hit it off on Twitter yesterday afternoon [Nov 12] where he tried to explain the joke, but she insisted his “snaky” message had put customers off buying booze. Jane, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, said: “It’s a bit cheeky to say that if I spend £60 I consider the restaurant to be a charity.”

“When I first saw the menu, I laughed and told my friend that we don’t order drinks. He asked why and I gave him the menu. He also found it funny and agreed to just stick to tap water.”

“I got a pitcher and didn’t ask for it to be refilled, but I’m sure they would have. [The donation] is a good idea, but I don’t think I should feel guilty about donating to charity just because I just wanted to drink tap water.

“I didn’t donate, but I was happy to pay the 15 percent gratuity that was automatically added because the staff were great. They didn’t say anything about us only drinking tap water and provided good service.”

Restaurant owner Morten is a Red Cross ambassador and the menu’s message ends by announcing it to customers and asking them to inform the waiters if they want to donate. The father of two emphasized that Köd doesn’t force customers to buy or donate drinks, but thinks it’s a nice thing to do.

Morten, from Skanderborg, Denmark, said: “It’s a very good offer that people like, but it’s not possible to make such an offer if everyone only has free tap water. It’s a kind of Danish humor, telling people that they need it too.” Buy something to drink so we can keep this great offer going.

“We don’t force people to buy alcohol.” They can get free tap water. i understand it [they find it cheeky] But to come to a restaurant and drink tap water, I think it would also be nice to donate something. That shouldn’t be a bad thing.

“This is the first time I’ve seen anything critical about it. I will of course think about it for the future, but I don’t think we should change something just because one person doesn’t agree with it. There are still some.” “Things that are true we need to learn about Danish humor working in the UK.”

Jane’s tweet, alongside a photo showing part of the message, read: “I made it a point not to order drinks at Köd Steakhouse on Liverpool Street after seeing it on the menu. Wild behavior lol.”

Morten responded and said: “Thank you for that [the] Attention. You forgot to mention that this only applies to our Sunday offer where we are offering an all you can eat BBQ for £30. We can’t do this if everyone only drinks tap water. We try to add humor, not insult. Tap water is still free, donated by the Red Cross [is] Optional!”

The dimly lit, empty interior of Kod London, owned by Morten Ortwed
The interior of Kod London

Jane retorted, “I guarantee your funny messages will discourage more people from ordering drinks than they will encourage people to order more drinks.”

Morten added: “We are a Danish restaurant and maybe there is too much Danish humor, maybe not. We will see. So far you are the first person we have heard from with a negative comment. But we will take that into account in our assessment.” . Thanks for the review.”

One user said: “Do they really expect to make a profit by selling water? Just close the restaurant, man.”

A second added: “I ordered the Malbec but after reading this. Tap water please?”

A third wrote: “This is a roundabout way of saying your business model doesn’t work.”

“Yes, you can get regular tap water… but please remember: we’re running a restaurant, not a charity – wink, wink, we’ve got to make money. But do you know who runs a charity? The Red Cross. ” If you just want tap water, we recommend donating £1 to the Red Cross. Everyone wins.

“All jokes aside, our founder Morten P. Ortwed is proud to be an ambassador for the Red Cross. Each year the Red Cross selects enterprising individuals to launch exciting and profitable fundraising projects.

“We would be very happy if you could support this cause. Please let your waiter know and thank you very much.”