London’s most expensive tasting menus

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It’s fair to say that London hasn’t always had the best culinary reputation. Compared to the Parises and Romes of this world, English food has, perhaps not unreasonably, been seen as dry, greasy, bland et al.

Oh, how things change. As London snowballed into one of the most influential metropolises in the world, and legions of different peoples, cultures, and ethnicities flocked in as a result, the restaurant scene burgeoned. No longer is the capital’s food characterised by prim dining in the West End, but by a dynamic set of influences popping up from Shoreditch to Southwark. Sure, the French do ‘haute cuisine’ pretty well, and you can definitely get some decent grub in Italy, but London has its own thing going on.

It must be said, however, that ‘having your own thing’ comes with a price tag. Not known for its thrifty credentials at the best of times, London’s high-end food establishments can cost a pretty penny. But it’s all part of the experience, right?

And in that spirit, we’ve researched the priciest restaurants on the scene — you know, places that will set you back a few hundred quid before wine. From five-star mainstays to secret sushi joints, this isn’t your average meal out…

The Araki: £310

The menu taking prime position has an unusual back story. Mitsuhiro Araki’s restaurant in Ginza held three Michelin stars before he decided to close it and bring his vision to the English capital. By 2018, The Araki London also boasted a trio of accolades. It specialises in ‘edomae sushi’, a style that originated 200 years ago in Tokyo, with everything prepared and served by Mr Araki according to the tradition of ‘sado’ (a Japanese tea ceremony).

Then, in 2019, the founder returned to Japan and his apprentice, UK-born Marty Lau, took over as head chef. So closely bound was Mr Araki to the brand that Michelin stripped the restaurant of its stars on his departure, a setback that Lau has said will only motivate him to work harder to make The Araki a success on his own terms. The food is still worthy of a dizzying price point, however – the only menu available is the sushi ‘omakase’ (‘I leave it up to you’ in Japanese), which costs over £300 per person.


The Palace Lounge at Rubens at The Palace: £500 (for two)

rubens hotel

So, what takes the penultimate spot on our list of costly cuisine? A tasting menu of gold-leaf encrusted wagyu and caviar-loaded oysters? Nope – it’s afternoon tea. A short walk from Victoria Station, the five-star Rubens at the Palace offers one of the best that money can buy. The Golden Tips Tea is served in the Palace Lounge; for a mere £500 two guests enjoy scones, pastries and finger sandwiches alongside the fabled Ceylon Golden Tips.

The delicate tea, which is showcased in a mahogany box lined with velvet, is weighed using golden scales. Each tip is placed into the silver teapot individually with golden tweezers and infused with still mineral water to produce an extraordinarily smooth, light and mellow texture. The Golden Tips Tea also includes a bottle of Lanson champagne that is sabred at the table.


Umu: £250

umu london

Umu’s eight-course ‘Kaiseki’ is essentially Japanese haute cuisine, and includes the likes of Cornish squid, steamed scallops, charcoal-grilled roe deer, and Scottish langoustine – plus the chef’s selection of sashimi. Although the restaurant is inspired by Kyoto, you can expect more than a nod to the UK: Umu calls in our fair nation’s most premium ingredients, bringing their natural flavours to the fore.

If you happen to have a few extra pennies, or access to an expense account, consider upgrading to the prestige wine or sake pairing for an extra £240. The restaurant, which has two Michelin stars, is a bit of a badly-kept secret; the windows are draped in dark linen fabric, obscuring the clean lines and glossy woods inside.


Restaurant Gordon Ramsay: £220

restaurant gordon ramsay

Gordon Ramsay’s culinary empire is vast, with a grand total of 18 restaurants in London alone. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay was his first, opening when the eponymous chef was just 31, and has since earned three Michelin stars. Specialising in modern French cuisine using the finest seasonal ingredients, the Chelsea flagship delivers a pitch-perfect menu featuring dishes such as smoked duck with beetroot, roast pigeon with pickled blackberries and lobster, langoustine and salmon ravioli with a hint of black truffle. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t come cheap, with the ‘Menu Prestige’ costing £185. But it is the enigmatic ‘Carte Blanche’ menu – which relinquishes control to the chef and costs £220 per head. 


Hélène Darroze at The Connaught: £215

Hélène Darroze took the reins at The Connaught in 2008, gaining a Michelin star the year after, a second in 2011, and the ultimate star in 2021. Late 2019 saw the dining room completely revamped to match Darroze’s stylised menu, which names only the key component of the dish alongside its provenance (‘Pigeon – Denbighshire, Wales’ or ‘Turbot – The Ajax, Cornwall’), eschewing those over-complicated catalogues where you’re never quite sure what the ingredients are.

Despite the warm environs and unpretentious dishes, the service team is well-drilled and the culinary standards are of the highest order – hence the £215 price point for the ‘Taste of Winter’ menu, which asks diners to choose between Rhug Estate venison and caviar, and Cornish turbot and A5 wagyu.


Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester: £210

alain ducasse at the dorchester

Clocking in at over £200 per person, the tasting menu at Alain Ducasse’s restaurant at The Dorchester yields impeccably prepared classics such as lobster medallion, line-caught turbot and saddle of venison. The hotel’s landmark restaurant has held three Michelin stars since 2010 thanks to Ducasse’s trademark focus on seafood and seasonal vegetables and, although many of his signatures are still in evidence, head chef Jean-Philippe Blondet has also put his stamp on the menu: expect French classics like lobster medallion with chicken quenelles alongside more original dishes such as Cornish turbot and Kalibos cabbage. A modern, light and informal setting swathed in natural fabrics underscores the restaurant’s forward-thinking approach to haute cuisine.


The Ledbury: £195

the ledbury notting hill

The Ledbury closed abruptly in June 2020 as a result of financial difficulties arising from the pandemic, but made headlines when it announced it would reopen in 2022 as a tasting menu-only venue. The Ledbury opened in 2005 and won two Michelin stars, as well as landing the accolade of being one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Today, head chef Brett Graham is at the helm and has curated a delectable eight-course menu featuring dishes of veal sweetbread with black garlic and Périgord truffle, wild Chinese water deer served with endive and quince and to finish off, dark chocolate chantilly with sake ice cream and shiso. 


Sketch: £190

sketch restaurant

Housed in an 18th-century Mayfair townhouse, Sketch is one of the quirkiest ways to enjoy haute cuisine. The ‘gastro-brasserie restaurant’ is visually breathtaking: from chairs wearing ballet shoes to futuristic toilet ‘eggs’ and a restaurant space decked out like an enchanted forest, every inch demands to be Instagrammed.

The food, curated by chef Pierre Gagnaire, is also striking. The nine-course tasting menu at The Lecture Room, the restaurant that won sketch its two Michelin stars, offers out-of-the-box delicacies like Ostra Regal oyster with with mango and puntarella, sea urchin bisque with poached duck foie gras, Pierre Gagnaire’s signature but undisclosed dessert. Intrigued enough to pay £190 per head? Plenty are.


Le Gavroche: £186

le gavroche

Le Gavroche is a true institution. Opened in 1967 by Albert and Michel Roux Snr, it was, at the time, the only French restaurant of its kind in London. It has been helmed by Albert’s son, Michel Roux Jnr, since 1991, and he has continued to uphold the incredibly high standards of classical food for which Le Gavroche is famous.

The ‘Menu Exceptionnel’ reads like a roll-call of irreproachable ingredients: seven courses include grilled langoustine with shellfish jelly, red wine braised ox cheek and torched Loch Duart salmon – the attendant selection of farmhouse cheeses are the best around. Include a sommelier-selected matching glass of wine for each course for £291 or £401 per person. At those prices, it had certainly better be ‘exceptional’.


Marcus at The Berkeley: £165

Headed by one of the most respected chefs in the country, Marcus Wareing’s outpost at grand dame hotel The Berkeley has always been a recipe for success. With him at the helm is Head Chef Craig Johnston and Senior Sous Chef Jack Hazell, and together the trio have created inventive, Michelin-starred modern British dishes.

Over at the Chef’s Table, which allows guests a sweeping view into the busy kitchen, a party of 10 can witness the highest levels of culinary expertise come to life. The seasonal tasting menu, which has been curated into five and seven-course options, features the likes of maitake with cauliflower and black truffle and Herdwick lamb with aubergine and feta, before topping off the evening with blackberry, cassis and lemon thyme for dessert. 


Above at Hide: £160

Hide London

Overlooking leafy green park, Above at Hide has earned a solid reputation among seasoned Londoners as a haven of delicious seasonal menus and a relaxed dining experience. The adaptable tasting menu, served in either five or seven courses, represents head chef Ollie Dabbous’ signature style, featuring the finest ingredients and playful presentation. Stand-out dishes on the tasting menu include red prawn tartare with crème fraiche and caviar; Herdwick lamb cooked over charcoal with roast garlic and violet artichoke; and rhubarb and custard tartlet, bellis daisy and chamomile.


Dinner by Heston Blumenthal: £145

dinner by heston blumenthal

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is not shy of culinary accolades. It has been celebrated as one of the best restaurants in the world, in London and the work of its head chef has enabled it to receive and retain two Michelin stars. But compared to other similar tasting menus in the capital, the one by Heston Blumenthal at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park comes at a very reasonable price of £145 for five courses. The seasonal menu often changes, with the next culinary rotation to come in March. However the current offering Earl Grey tea-cured salmon, saffron beef cheek served in red wine and the delicious roast venison with spiced red cabbage and pickled cherries. 


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