Question: How many places could be booked at Tapas Bar on the week Maddie “disappeared”?
Answer: At least 47, but the exact number, only God knows.
Until Kate’s book was published, it was commonly perceived that the Tapas bar took 20 covers.
So says clearly Luisa Coutinho in her statement taken on May 8th: “However, the deponent refers that the guests tell her that restaurant "Tapas" has better quality but that it's difficult to get a booking since it has a few seats reserved for, "Mark Warner" customers, 20 to be concrete”.
Luis Barros confirms what Luisa says. He was a waiter at the Tapas, who also worked at the Mill, and said there were 20 diners on half board at the Tapas. He also said that he had to seek authorisation from his manager Steve (Cova) to make a block reservation for the T9. Steve Cova was the Angolan catering manager who had left at 8pm on the night Madeleine disappeared
But Kate's book says otherwise, and that is that Tapas could ONLY cope with 15.
And this is not a guessed up number as she says, in the book, that she did have some second thoughts about the T9 block reservation, for as, it seems, it was apparently unfair to some other family who also wanted to reserve there but couldn’t due to this. Kate decides to maintain the booking as these people would stay further on and could then, according to her, enjoy all the pleasures offered by such that exquisite dining facility.
But why take either Luisa’s words or Kate’s when we have physical evidence that can help us clarify, with some precision, how many reservations was it possible to make?
The Ocean Club, as an institution, is able to tell us, isn't it? All we have to do is to refer to those "reliable" documents, known as the Tapas “reservation” sheets. They tell all, all we have to do is just read.
Waiter Joaquim Jose Baptista says that to book a Tapas table, guests had to queue at reception from 11 am onwards on the day (The Sun 23/10/07), so we'll assume that the place was booked to up the hilt in EACH one of those nights.
Kate’s second thoughts about the T9 reservation confirms that we’re correct to do so.
Looking at all “reservation” sheets we can see clearly mentioned a number, starting with “2” (201, 202... etc.) , that we assume to be a number with which the staff identified the different tables. This is a common procedure in restaurants, as it facilitates, for obvious reasons, both the service provided and the billing.
From the sheets we see that the tables at Tapas were identified with numbers from #201 to #212. If anyone sees any other meaning for these numbers, please say so. It's important, as you'll see, that they mean exactly what we say they mean.
We can’t see anything else that they could represent, especially as they are the only piece of coherent information of these “reservation” sheets, but we're, as always, are open to suggestions. Valid suggestions, that is.
Assuming they mean what they mean, we can then state that there were 12 tables available at Tapas. But, as our readers know how we like to be precise, we see that table #208 is never mentioned, we’ll consider that there were only 11 tables, #201 to #207 and #209 to #212.
The reasons why table #208 wasn’t used aren't important. It could be due to just a coincidence, or because it was unusable for some reason. It could have been because of a broken leg, because it was used as table top to support the other tables, for drinks for example, or because some other whatsoever reason. It isn’t mentioned, so we shan’t consider it.
But, as in all things that involve the Maddie Affair, even the simplest task just can’t be clear and simple. Like what is supposed to be plain and simple, like booking a meal at a restaurant, an act done billions of times daily, when it comes to the McCann & Co it just can’t be straightforward.
We have, for example, what I call, the “mystery” tables. People who were "chosen" by the OC staff to dine at unnumbered tables, unlike other guests. On May 3rd, the SPERREYs, a party of 2, have no table allocated, and they were checked, so they had the meal there, we just don’t know in which table.
Same happens with the FRICKENs, party of 2, on May 6th. No table allocated, but checked, so they also had their meal there. Table unknown:
On May 3rd, the COX, who required for some reason authorization from the manager Steve (also did the BULLEN’s (misspelled by the way) and neither family seems to have done a block booking, which we supposed was what was needed to trigger such requirement), has apparently no table allocated.
However if you look, in front of the check is a “2”, which we assume to be the table number, but as it doesn’t appear as a whole, so we don’t know if we should consider this family on a table #213 (or any other bigger number), or in any one of the other of the already mentioned tables:
On May 6th, the DE LA MAREs have no table allocated. There’s a check mark BEFORE the name, but no check mark after it, like it happens with the REAP and WILLIAMS families. So we don’t know if this family showed up or not. Really confusing:
On May 2nd, the WEINBURGERs have no table allocated, and are not checked, so one must assume that they reserved but didn’t show up.
We will not consider the DE LA MAREs nor WEINBURGERs as “mystery tables”. But we will not disregard that they were able to book for 2+1 and 2, respectfully.
It just seems like a waste of time having stood for some time in a line for such a sought after dinner and then not showing up, but who are we to judge others?
This totals 11 people who reserved, but we don’t know to which tables they were allocated to, and in some cases, like the WEINBURGERs and the DE LA MAREs if they even dined there.
Remember, the question is not about who dined there, but how many reservations could be made.
Then, we have the Take-Aways. Not criticizing or even questioning the existence of this service (which, by the way, I do) but just showing how strangely it was run. We have this restaurant that is apparently very highly requested by the guests, and it seems, it offers a Take-Away service.
Although not announced anywhere as a service offered by Tapas, we believe it to be, like ANY Take-Away, limitless. So why, one has to wonder, why, in so many guests, ONLY 3 families, BERRY, SAVAGE and MULLARD take advantage of this for a whole week?
I can only imagine that some people, who had stood in line but weren’t able to get a seat, to reserve Take-Away for that day, since they already had wasted time to eat the food offered.
Also, with the BAPTISTA SUPERMARKET nearby, it seems to me to be a real practical option for evening meals: get the food from Tapas, drinks from the supermarket, and eat at the apartment. A very common practice among tourists everywhere in the world.
When everything suggests that this would be a very profitable business for Tapas, we see, as we've said, that only 3 families, totaling 10 meals, were served this way for a whole week. Strange is the least that one can say... and strange is also the fact that the Take-Aways even appear in a "reservation book".
This said, now let’s look now at how many people booked for each of the tables of Tapas restaurant week, ACCORDING to its “reservation” sheets, that can be seen in the PJ Files:
The first thing that stands right out, is that in most of the days, there were a lot of FREE tables.
So why was there a queue? It absolutely just makes no sense at all, but we do have the word of the OC staff, don’t we?
The second thing is that Kate’s max number of 15 is, also, absolutely disproportionate, not making any sense whatsoever. One thing is to feel being surrounded by another 6 people (15 - T9 = 6), another is not realizing that there were in fact 3 times more than that.
On Tuesday, it was T9 plus 16, on Wednesday, T9 plus 17 and on Thursday, T9 plus 19. And we’re talking about the people that reserved AND dined.
They were there to be seen, and one wonders why she didn’t see them. But one thing is, one may argue, is the perception of a client, like Kate McCann, another is the knowledge of reality, as per OC Staff. As there are no tables that seat only 3 people (tables take only an even number of seats, with the exception of the BIG ROUND TABLE 211, but that is because it’s BIG and ROUND), we should consider that any table that was reserved for 3, accommodates, at least, 4.
Looking at the “reservations”, only table #212 was occupied with less than 3 people, so we shall consider this one as the only 2-seat table in the house. This means that:
Without taking into account table #208, there were 47 places available.
This, I repeat, according to the very documentation handed over by the OC to the PJ. I'm just the messenger here.
This over than doubles the number said by Luisa. One gross error. Bigger than the one made by Kate, although we mustn't forget that Mrs McCann makes hers 4 years after the events, and Luisa does it 4 days afterwards, when things were confusing but supposedly under total control.
A really strange mistake to be made by someone who handles the reservations directly on a daily basis. One thing is 20, another, completely different is an amount that more than doubles that quantity.
Even if we consider (and we cannot understand why she should) that the “20” refers ONLY to MW clients, she’s still completely off. Because if we add in other agencies, the number just grows in size...
47 is the number we arrived at, as the quantity of seats that the OC Staff COULD, if they WOULD, reserve at Tapas. BUT if we throw in other admissible variables, than this number goes completely out of control, as we'll show.
If you consider table #208, as it is possible that it simply wasn’t used, then the number rises to 51.
If you consider table #212 as one equal to all others, able to sit 4 PAX, then you have 49 places without #208, and 53 with it.
If you consider that table #211 holds 10 and not only 9, as per Najoua Chekaya’s statement, then please add a place to the number you’ve already come up with.
If you consider that the 4 tables with 4 PAX each "inside" are NOT mentioned in the “reservation” sheets (and there’s no indication that they are), then add 16, will you please?
If you on top of all, you add also the “mystery tables” then only God knows what number you should get. As He would be the only one to know how many places there really were if instead of only having tables up to #212, we also had tables #213, #214, etc.
Notwithstanding all these variables, it’s safe to say that there were AT LEAST, 47 places that could have been reserved at Tapas restaurant (bar?) that week.
Unless those numbers mean anything different than what we said they mean, then it means, beyond reasonable doubt, that Luisa Coutinho is either ignorant or lying.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think ignorance has had any involvement in this. And if she's not lying, then the "reservation sheets" must be. Or... perhaps both?
As a last note, why only did 1 family reserve on Friday, May 4th? Even considering the “cancelled” tennis dinner of 12, and counting with the HYND family of 3, there would still be 32 (THIRTY-TWO) places available!
We’ve known that some T9 spent the night looking for Maddie, or so they say they did.
We also know that, altruistically, some of the Tapas staff looked for the child until late, but we have no record of any other guests having done that, the attempt to say that guests didn’t reserve because they were too tired is just not reasonable.
Also, the whole media commotion only began after the famous Tapas queue had taken place, so that doesn’t serve as excuse either.
Why were there so many free places that evening? Maybe because someone thought that just by writing a dinner for 12 it would have been enough to solve the “booking problem” for that particular day?