Tim Hayward is a restaurateur and the food critic of the Financial Times.
In yesterday’s weekend edition – instead of reviewing a restaurant – he composed a much-needed piece on the expense of London restaurants, having paid during the week £200 per head at a not especially well-known one.
He quoted menu prices of £90 for a pie and £80 + for steak and chips at Tom Kerridge’s Hand and Flowers pub at Marlow.
I’ve noted a real hike in wine prices where the house wine is, as often as not, a notable absentee.
He goes on to postulate on the future of restaurants: will they just exist for the super rich?
Will Millenials use Deliveroo?
The only fault I could see in his argument was that his critique applies to London.
In the week I ate extremely well – 3 courses, cocktails and good wine – for £120 per head.
It was al fresco in Brighton and delightful. Country pubs offering simple fare – e.g. succulent ham and chips – will be considerably less.
One consequence of all of this is that hoity-toity restaurants will no longer be doing you a favour in eating there.
They will have to adapt.
Tim Hayward explains – and to a certain extent justifies – this rise in prices after the pandemic shut down, upward rent reviews, plus increased staff and overhead costs which had skewed the accepted model of 30% staff, 30% ingredients, 30% overheads and 10% profit.
Another consequence is eating at home.
This has been adopted in the Colthard residence. Hubby Ollie delights in telling me that the Pomerol from his cellar costs at least at third of that on a restaurant wine menu.
Like most men his preserve is the barbecue and – rather than moan that we women prepare the salads – I get these for 3 quid from M & S.
One final consequence.
One pleasure – not that often realised (!!!) – was to see in my youth a prospective suitor’s face when he got the bill but was uncertain whether sex would follow!!!!
There are no longer suitors but I bet the faces – on receiving the bill at 10.30 pm with “Would you like to come back to my place?” denied – are even longer!!!