If you think nothing of paying the price of an apartment for a bottle of wine or you would even be tempted to put caviar on pizza, there can be no doubt as to your ideal destination: London. If we talk in terms of the "normal cost of living", then Geneva, Paris and Hong Kong take the cake because it is there that the cost of food is most prohibitive.
But here we are beyond the realms of normality: the British capital has scaled the world charts when it comes to unaffordable luxury eating, with a capacity to digest any binge that has contributed to its leadership in this particular respect. In the last 12 months, news of London’s foodie excesses have been constantly featured.
Most expensive hamburger and ice-cream
One year ago, the Honky Tonk American bar launched the most expensive hamburger in the world called Glamburger: New Zealand game, black truffled brie, white truffle, caviar and gold leaf, a mingling of flavours on sale at the price of 1,500 Euro (but if you prefer to go for something more ethnic, you can always fall back on a “good old” curry served by the Samudari Khazana Bombay Brasserie at around 2,200 Euros).
Obviously, London does not hold worldwide exclusivity rights when it comes to outrageously expensive dishes: from the diamond showered sushi by Angelino Araneta in Manila to the Louis XIII pizza by Renato Viola in Salerno, or the 24 carat ice-cream by Serendipity-3 in New York and the popcorn sold at 1,000 dollars per kilo by Berco's, the foodies for whom “money is no object” can find something to satisfy their extravagant tastes in all four corners of the planet. But London has more than its fair share.
The most expensive coffee and meat in the world
In the spring, a Channel 4 documentary in several episodes enlightened the public with regard to the world’s most expensive ingredients on sale in the food temples of the capital. For instance, the world's most expensive coffee: Kopi Luvak a coffee produced from the part-digested and defecated berries of the common palm civet (around 450 Euro a cup).
Or the Iberian Albarragena de Bellota ham, which comes complete with a genetic certification of the Estremadura pigs whose legs are worth around 2,500 Euro per kilo. Or the prestigious Japanese wagyū beef steaks – Kobe steak first and foremost – whose meat, marbled with fat, is massaged and cosseted to the point of fanaticism, before being sold at a price of several hundreds of Euro per kilo.
One of the most recent news items concerned the use of caviar – whose sale, together with that of truffles, has increased by dozens of percentage points since last Christmas: the latest trend contemplates its use as pizza topping, despite the anguished cries of those who consider this to be an authentic food crime. It’s all happening on restaurant and bar tables in the city of Big Ben, and on the food counters of stores that display and sell the most magnificent food items.
Luxury food delivery and take-away
But also in the intimacy of the home: take-away food and dinners delivered on the doorstep have not only become associated with quality, but are now focused on outright luxury. In the metropolis inhabited by the highest number of billionaires in the world, one third of the city’s food budget is spent on fast food and take-away options: in such a scenario, there is an obvious need for a service of the type offered by Supper which, on request, delivers the dishes of various starred restaurants to private homes.
The City’s luxury catering boom, which offsets the tremors in London’s industrial fabric and banking sector, has soared incessantly since 2013, with new investors and customers flocking to Central London. Even historic high-class hotel establishments have taken on a new lease of life, mainly thanks to Middle-Eastern investments, as self-sufficient citadels of luxury where in-house starred restaurants – what better example than Ducasse’s three star restaurant at the Dorchester – are both the cause and symptom of their success. Between one business deal and another, the gluttonous luxury of dishes that cost the equivalent of one month’s salary – or maybe more – of the waiters serving them.
Geranium's Rasmus Kofoed has decided to stop serving meat at the restaurant currently ranked number two on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. But the Danish chef isn't yet willing to go purely plant-based.