With any luck, you’ve just had your first paycheck since before Christmas. And the even better news is that February is the shortest month of the year, so your next injection of moolah is less than 30 days away. London restaurants, of course, offer a never-ending opportunity to part you with your hard-earned cash – and none more so than the options below. Truffle, schmuffle! If you really want to splash the cash, read on to discover the most expensive food and cocktails in London.
The Purple Bar, Fitzrovia
B&B King cocktail, £375
If the Sanderson’s standard five-star hotel price of £14 for a cocktail strikes you as small change, turn your attention to the Purple Bar’s ‘Luxurious Collection’, a pair of cocktails with price tags you may only consider reasonable when already drunk. £360 buys you the Manhattan 1913, made with the last bottle of pre-Prohibition McBrayer Bourbon 1913; topping that is the B&B King cocktail, which costs £375 and is based on 1940 Martell Extra Cognac and 1940 Benedictine. Waiter, another round!
Where: Sanderson London, 50 Berners Street, W1T 3NG
Buddha Jumps Over the Wall Soup, £188
You’d be forgiven for following Buddha over the wall and doing a runner when presented with the bill for the signature soup at Kai. The original recipe at the Michelin-starred Mayfair Chinese called for sharks’ fin, abalone, Japanese flower mushroom, dried scallops, sea cucumber, chicken, Hunan pork and ginseng. The shark’s fin has been dropped since the soup was launched for £108 in 2005, but the price has increased to £188 (that’s the cost of living for you), and you’ll have to order it five days in advance.
Where: 65 South Audley Street, W1K 2QU
Royal China Club, Marylebone
Caterpillar soup, £428
Put down that tin of Heinz cream of tomato and head to unglamorous 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. Do not add milk and sugar.
Where: 40-42 Baker Street, W1U 7AJ
The Ritz London, Mayfair
Caviar omelette, £180
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
Kobe beef, £1,000
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 need ordering 48 hours in advance.
Where: Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, EC2N 4AY
The American Bar, Covent Garden
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, currently 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
Wagyu burger, £32
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 £32. Add French fries or 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
Still watching the pennies? Check out our list of the 60 best cheap eats in London.