When the bill arrives, it's still just a hunk of beef

Kelner's View

Share
Related Topics

Has anyone told the restaurateurs of London that there's a
recession on, that there are strikers on the streets and that the
entire global financial system is about to collapse? Austerity?
Make mine a double. Hardship? Get out the white truffles.

Every week, it seems, there is a new restaurant opening in London, with ever more dizzying prices. And the current vogue seems to be high-end steak restaurants where you need a Greek-style bailout when the bill arrives. Call me a foodie Philistine if you like, but I've never really been able to get behind the movement to treat a hunk of beef like it was vintage wine. OK, I can tell the difference between a bad steak and a good one - which, let it be said, is often about the cooking more than the quality of the meat - but I can't then go up another level to the carnivorean grand cru. I make this point because a few days ago I was dining with a friend in one of these new establishments in London, and to facilitate our decision-making, the waiter brought a tray with various joints of meat wrapped in napkins.

"And this one," he said, introducing the top of the bill, "is rib-eye from Chile, absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious." My friend was sold, and while she knew this wasn't any old rib-eye, what she didn't know was that it was, according to the menu, "100 per cent pure breed Wagyu beef from IX region of Araucania in Chile".

I'm sure that if we'd wanted to know what his brothers and sisters were called, we'd have been able to find out. Wagyu is a breed of Japanese cow that produces, according to experts, highly-prized meat of distinct flavour and intense marbling.

Anyway, let's fast-forward a little. The steak was good, but not that good. And what are you supposed to say about it? It was possible to admire the medium-rarity of it, but you couldn't really wax lyrical about the sublime skill and ingenuity of the chef. Or the marvellous compedium of flavours. It wasn't like getting your first taste, all those years ago, of Marco Pierre White's oysters and tagliatelle in champagne sauce. Or even Heston's triple-fried chips.

In the end, I'm afraid, a steak is a steak is a steak. This one was different in one respect, however. Well, we're well past the days of the 2 gallon of petrol and the 1 newspaper, and now we've arrived at the 85 steak. Yes, that's right, 85 quid! For a steak! And what's even more astonishing is that this is the going rate: there are around half a dozen restaurants in the capital charging a similar amount. And you know what: my friend complained that she'd been sold a false bill of goods. "It didn't melt in my mouth," she said. "I had to chew it."

There was only one thing for it, we agreed: they ought to be taken out and shot. Oops.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Manager with some Agile experience

£45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsf...

Data/ MI Analyst

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are cur...

Secondary Supply Teachers to work in Peterborough

£110 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cambridge: Supply teachers required fo...

Project Manager (retail, upgrades, rollouts)

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum + benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Francois Hollande at the Paris summit on Iraq with ministers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on 15 September  

What's going to happen in Syria and Iraq? A guide to the new anti-Isis coalition's global strategy

Jonathan Russell
The colours of autumn leaves are among the many pleasures of the coming season  

In Sickness and in Health: As autumn arrives, more of us should wear high-vis clothes

Rebecca Armstrong
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week