The glitzy likes of Dubai and Monaco may be known as playgrounds for the rich and famous, but London’s restaurant scene offers up plenty of opportunities to part with your hard-earned cash. If you like gawping at the kinds of things rich people fritter away their money on (or better yet – you’re actually loaded), you’ll probably find lots to love in our round up of the most expensive food and drink in London. If these prices leave you with your jaw on the floor, just remember that pay day is never more than a month away, and there is always our round up of London's best cheap eats to see you through until then.
The Palace Lounge at The Rubens at The Palace, Westminster
What: Rubens Golden Tips Tea, £500
Why: The Rubens benefits from a plum location overlooking The Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, so it’s only right that the hotel serves tea fit for a queen. In collaboration with specialist tea merchants PMD Tea, The Rubens is exclusively offering its guests the rare Golden Tips blend alongside its afternoon tea, which also features finger sandwiches, pastries and freshly-baked scones. The tea boasts a smooth, light, mellow texture with hints of fruity notes – it can be infused up to three times, and is poured from a special silver tea set.
Where: 39 Buckingham Palace Road, SW1W 0PS
Imperial Treasure, Waterloo
What: Signature Peking duck, £100
Why: Imperial Treasure already operates three locations across Asia (each boasting at least one Michelin star), and the group made the move to London in late 2018. Upon opening, the restaurant caused a stir among critics and the public for charging a cluckin’ hefty £100 for its signature Peking Duck. You do get some bang for your buck though, as the duck is presented in two courses – firstly with pancakes and plum sauce, and then with a choice of ginger and spring onion, black bean sauce or salt and pepper.
Where: 9-10 Waterloo Place, SW1Y 4BE
What: Abalone soup, £68
Why: Of all the dishes in London that have been on the receiving end of the gentrification treatment (see kebabs, burgers etc.), you probably never expected to see soup go high-end. Nonetheless, Michelin-starred Mayfair Chinese Kai has made it happen, serving a hearty bowl of soup for almost £70. The soup is made from abalone (small sea snails) and also features hokkaido dried scallops, corn-fed chicken stock and beansprouts.
Where: 65 South Audley Street, W1K 2QU
Royal China Club, Marylebone
What: Caterpillar soup, £428
Why: Put down that tin of Heinz cream of tomato and head to Baker Street, where the Royal China group’s flagship Royal China Club serves a £428 soup – which you may be relieved to hear feeds four diners. It isn’t made with caterpillars either, but rather a rare herb found at high altitudes that is said to resemble a caterpillar, and, having been simmered for up to eight hours, is more like a tea than a soup – don’t try to add milk and sugar though. Note that the caterpillar soup must be ordered in advance.
Where: 40-42 Baker Street, W1U 7AJ
The Ritz London, Mayfair
What: Caviar omelette, £180
Why: Breakfast, as our mothers all told us, is the most important meal of the day, and if you want to breakfast like a king (or queen), head to the dining room of The Ritz, a Versailles-style fantasy of golden rococo stylings that even Marie-Antoinette might have considered a little de trop. The English breakfast (£40) gives you a free run at the buffet as well as a full fry-up; lighter appetites may prefer the 30g oscietre caviar omelette, which, for £180, provides you with your breakfast-time omega 3s without having to go anywhere near a kipper.
Where: 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR
What: Kobe beef, £1,000
Why: Another one where the high price disguises the fact that it feeds more than one, Sushisamba’s £1,000 Kobe beef experience provides five diners with 1kg of the exclusive Japanese cow, so is actually good value, right? The beef is served ishiyaki style, with thin slices of meat cooked on a hot stone at the table and served with dipping sauces and pickled plums. Prefer not to share? You can buy an individual portion for £129 which, unlike the full experience, doesn’t require you to order it 48 hours in advance.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
The American Bar at The Savoy, Covent Garden
What: Sazerac cocktail, £5,000
Why: Marilyn Monroe, Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill: what legendary booze-hound hasn’t pulled up a stool at the 125-year-old American Bar at The Savoy, once voted the World’s Best Bar? If you want to join their illustrious ranks, you could do worse than order the bar’s £5,000 Sazerac, made with 1858 Sazerac de Forge Cognac, 1950s Pernod Absinthe and vintage Peychaud’s Bitters. On a mission? For your second drink, how about a Negroni made with vintage gin for £120?
Where: The Savoy, Strand, WC2R 0ET
What: Wagyu burger, £34
Why: Most people’s idea of pimping up their patty is to upgrade from Maccy D’s to Byron, but if you want to take it to a whole other level of luxury, CUT is for you. The Wolfgang Puck-helmed restaurant at The Dorchester-owned 45 Park Lane hotel serves a grilled Australian Wagyu burger topped with Ogleshield Cheddar, shallot-jalapeño marmalade and garlic aioli for £34 (lunch menu only). Add French fries or tempura onion rings for £8 a pop. To truly make it a happy meal, get someone else to pick up the bill.
Where: 45 Park Lane, W1K 1PN
Park Chinois, Mayfair
What: Japanese Wagyu rib-eye, £120
Why: Whether it’s the plush furnishings in the main dining room, or the gold-plated columns found in the downstairs bar, Park Chinois is a visual spectacle. Considering just how over-the-top the interiors are, it should come as no surprise that dinner here will conclude with a hefty bill. Here, a 180g cut of Wagyu beef will set you back £120, while a sharing starter of Peking duck, served with pancakes, baby cucumber and duck sauce, clocks in at £98.
Where: 17 Berkeley Street, W1J 8EA
Sumosan Twiga, Knightsbridge
What: Japanese rice hotspot, £65
Why: Sumosan Twiga has no shame in its game – it’s home to stunning art-deco interiors, impossibly good looking staff and a menu replete with luxury options, including ‘billionaire’ sushi rolls topped with Wagyu beef (£29 a serving). One of the most expensive items on Sumosan’s menu though, is the Japanese rice hotspot which is topped with grilled Angus beef, an Onsen egg and sesame chili – all yours for just shy of £70.
Where: 165 Sloane Street, SW1X 9QB
Sexy Fish, Mayfair
What: Beluga caviar, £210
Why: Often packed to the rafters with celebrities and social media influencers, Sexy Fish is one of the flashier restaurants found on London’s streets. The menu is a tick box exercise of luxury ingredients, with plenty of truffle, lobster and Wagyu beef on show. If you want to stick to the fish theme, why not try the caviar, which is served with steamed buns and smoked tofu. The catch? Just 30g of the Belgua variety will cost you a mammoth £210.
Where: Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BR
Mr Chow, Knightsbridge
What: Beijing duck, £82
Why: The old saying goes that if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it. The same can be said of the London outpost of glitzy Chinese Mr Chow, which doesn’t feature prices on its website. Anyone stumbling into the restaurant who is unaware of its reputation might be shocked to come across dishes such as The Beijing duck, which must be ordered by a minimum of three people and costs £82…per head.
Where: 151 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7PA
If you’re going to splash the cash, it might as well be in one of London’s hippest dining rooms. If you want to see and be seen, check out our pick of the coolest restaurants in London.