While the credit-crunched masses might be revelling in the bittersweet prospect of a closing-down sale at Woolies this Christmas, the restaurant industry seems slightly out of tune with the times.
The recently opened St Pancras Grand, for example, is offering a lavish, seven-course Christmas menu (caviar, oysters, lobster, truffles and veal – plus gold leaf on your chocolate tart – £150).
Equally luxurious are some of the take-home options: we want our festive food booty from Sketch, where elegant birdcages encase Alice in Wonderland-themed goodies including a high tea of pickled quails' eggs and a sexy Blaue Blume tea set (pictured), while a "man hamper" includes an espresso machine and a signed copy of chef Pierre Gagnaire's new book.
Is his fellow French chef Hélène Darroze the only one on a budget? Her just-opened Espelette (bistro to her double-Michelin-starred Connaught kitchen) does a prix-fixe lunch for under £20. How sensible.