Going out to eat can be an expensive affair. | MDB Digital


I have to say that unlike some of my friends, I don’t go out to eat very much in restaurants anymore. Indeed, this is nothing new, as even when living in Mallorca I mostly had to be forced to eat-out on a Friday night at modestly priced local eateries. I would like to say that this has nothing to do with meanness of any description, just the fact that the person I live with is a very good cook…and so why bother? Anyway, I was perusing the glossy magazine in a posh Sunday newspaper last weekend when I read a feature regarding how ridiculously expensive some places have become recently, citing the increase in costs as all to do with staff costs and food prices in general.

Last week I was persuaded to join a group of friends for dinner by a mate of mine, who I know to be both somewhat of a ‘foodie’ and to make things even worse, he isn’t short of a bob-or-two either. This combination was - as you can imagine, a rather explosive mix given my tendency to abject meanness on occasions such as this. For instance, I knew we were into a high cost evening when the somewhat supercilious head-waiter at the designated restaurant took an absolute age describing the grub that was on offer, without mentioning (or even hinting at) the cost of various goodies on the menu. As my ‘foodie’ pal spent about twenty minutes asking about the fabulousness of the menu, I rather rudely dug him in the ribs and demanded to know “How much mate?” As clearly he didn’t have the nerve to tell me, he left it to his new pal to go through the menu item-by-item. As my chin became slacker and slacker whilst trying to maintain my natural urbane demeanour, I was later told that many feared that I might faint.

However, after I was non-too-subtlety kicked under the table by a woman I know, I regressed into mumbled expressions of imminent bankruptcy and worse. Do you know what got-to-me the most? It’s not the money (yes it is!) - it was the elaborate description of the fairly basic - and it has to be said - well cooked and presented two course meal, plus wine, that I was about to be charged a small fortune for. Ahh the wine! As a man who suffers from back spasms because of his fondness for picking out bottles of ‘bottom shelf Shiraz’ in his local Tesco’s, I have to say that by this time I had rather given up the ghost and as my friends were clearly looking to eat what they had just ordered, I thought it best to stay silent for the rest of the evening.

Nevertheless, the food was very good, and as you would expect the service both slick and knowledgeable. So that’s all right then? Well, no, not really. The thing is - the bill was £75 each - so that’s £150…Oh, I almost forgot, don’t forget the 10% service charge. So then, a good night out with friends? Yes, of course - and we did enjoy the food and company; but that sort of money for small elevated tubes of main-course cannelloni and three glasses of wine was a bit much I reckon.

Indeed, It might be some time before I do it again I reckon. Nevertheless, all of the above is as nothing compared to a 5 Star restaurant in Copenhagen (according to the Sunday Times magazine) where you will be charged just over £800 per head for a seemingly straightforward dinner menu. I know that I have picked upon highlighting the very top-end of the restaurant market - but those who dine out even occasionally might well think again given some of those silly prices.