The chef's special: a top-class meal that won't break the bank

You don't have to break the bank to enjoy top-class cuisine – an increasing number of renowned chefs are opening affordable alternatives to fine-dining restaurants.

Tuck into the best macaroni cheese on the planet at Central Michel Richard, 1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington (001 202 626 0015;, where the mixture of French bistro and American diner food also includes a luxurious lobster burger.

The godfather of molecular gastronomy, Pierre Gagnaire, has created dishes such as poached eggs, sorrel, tiger prawn, white tuna cream and cauliflower for the menu at Pierre, Mandarin Oriental, 5 Connaught Road, Hong Kong (00 852 2825 4001;

Last November, acclaimed chef Neil Perry converted his fine dining Rockpool restaurant into the casual seafood joint Rockpool (fish), 107 George Street, The Rocks, Sydney (00 612 9252 1888; There you'll find Asian-influenced dishes such as bass groper fillet poached in garam masala and coconut milk, with semolina noodles.

Simon Rogan is best known for his culinary flights of fancy at L'enclume, but the food at nearby Rogan and Company, Cavendish Street, Cartmel, Cumbria (015395 35917;, is a more straightforward affair, with dressed crab with rocket salad and celeriac remoulade on the menu.

Three-Michelin-starred chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten has recently opened the third branch of Spice Market in the W Hotel, Suleyman Seba Cad 22, Akaretler, Besiktas, Istanbul (00 90 212 381 2121;, where casual Asian dishes might include mussels steamed with lemon grass, Thai basil, dried chilli and coconut juice.

Next door to the haute cuisine Gordon Ramsay au Trianon restaurant is the brasserie-style La Veranda, 1 Boulevard de la Reine, Versailles (00 33 1 30 84 5556;, offering seared tuna with fennel salad and mustard vinaigrette.