Price at UK’s top restaurants DOUBLES in six years: Diners face average bills of £200-per-person

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Price at UK’s top restaurants DOUBLES in six years: Diners face average bills of £200-per-person

The UK's top restaurants are becoming increasingly unaffordable as record price rises mean that even £100 is not enough for a top tier meal. The

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The UK’s top restaurants are becoming increasingly unaffordable as record price rises mean that even £100 is not enough for a top tier meal. 

The cost-of-living crisis, staff shortages and soaring food prices – as well as the industry suffering due to the pandemic has meant that the price of a meal at the UK’s best restaurants has more than doubled to £200 a head since Brexit.  

In Harden’s London Restaurant Guide, they raised the top price category from £100 to £130 per head, with the former now reserved for the second tier. 

The 2023 edition includes 15 restaurants in the capital with a guide price of more than £200 a head, compared with six in that bracket this year. 

The general rate of increase was a record in the last decade and the highest in the 20 years since 2000.

The UK's top restaurants are becoming increasingly unaffordable as record price rises mean that even £100 is not enough for a top tier meal

The UK's top restaurants are becoming increasingly unaffordable as record price rises mean that even £100 is not enough for a top tier meal

The UK’s top restaurants are becoming increasingly unaffordable as record price rises mean that even £100 is not enough for a top tier meal

Peter Harden, the editor of the restaurant guide, said: ‘We’ve gone very quickly from a time five years ago when charging over £100 a head was the outlier, to now, when for the very top restaurants £200 pounds a head is becoming the norm.

‘It feels like everything is speeding up. That’s because it is.’

In the UK as a whole, the restaurant guide will list 12 venues outside London charging more than £200 a head, compared with eight this year. 

This includes Britain’s most expensive restaurant Ynyshir Hall in Ceredigion, Wales where they boast a 32 course taster menu costing £410 a head.

Harden’s Best UK Restaurants for 2023 describes the two Michelin star restaurant, as a ‘major darling of the UK fooderati’, but says that many of its reviewers now regard it as ‘ridiculously overpriced’. 

Peter Harden, the editor of the restaurant guide, said: 'We've gone very quickly from a time five years ago when charging over £100 a head was the outlier, to now, when for the very top restaurants £200 pounds a head is becoming the norm.' Pictured: The Araki where the average price per head is £380

Peter Harden, the editor of the restaurant guide, said: 'We've gone very quickly from a time five years ago when charging over £100 a head was the outlier, to now, when for the very top restaurants £200 pounds a head is becoming the norm.' Pictured: The Araki where the average price per head is £380

Peter Harden, the editor of the restaurant guide, said: ‘We’ve gone very quickly from a time five years ago when charging over £100 a head was the outlier, to now, when for the very top restaurants £200 pounds a head is becoming the norm.’ Pictured: The Araki where the average price per head is £380

Harden said: ‘If you go back to our first post-Brexit London edition in 2017, then there was just a single restaurant costing more than £150, now there are 37, and there are 154 in the guide above the £100 level.

‘This phenomenon is not restricted to London. The most expensive formula price in our UK guide this year is £430, for Ynyshir in Wales.’ 

He added, with reference to Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant in Berkshire: ‘These days, it’s pretty hard to come out of the Fat Duck for less than £1,000 for two.’

Harden said some UK restaurants were now charging ‘staggering amounts that would have been inconceivable in the UK only a few years ago’.

This comes too as food inflation hit a record 11.6 per cent in October, according to new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-Nielsen Shop Price Index.

The cost-of-living crisis, staff shortages and soaring food prices has meant that the price of a meal at the UK's best restaurants has more than doubled to £200 a head since Brexit. Pictured: Roketsu has an average price of £285 per head

The cost-of-living crisis, staff shortages and soaring food prices has meant that the price of a meal at the UK's best restaurants has more than doubled to £200 a head since Brexit. Pictured: Roketsu has an average price of £285 per head

The cost-of-living crisis, staff shortages and soaring food prices has meant that the price of a meal at the UK’s best restaurants has more than doubled to £200 a head since Brexit. Pictured: Roketsu has an average price of £285 per head

The figures show how supermarket food prices have soared from October last year to October this year. It is higher than last month’s 10.6 per cent rise and the three-month average rate of 9.7 per cent.

Basics such as tea bags, milk and sugar were some of the most significant cost rises.

The increase in price of fresh food has also been one of the major drivers of food inflation, now being 13.3 per cent more expensive than last October – up from 12.1 per cent in September. 

With a myriad of reasons for price rises, Harden added that Brexit was posing an existential threat to the restaurant business, partly because of rising food prices, but mainly because of the extra cost of hiring staff.

The combination of a surge in bills and an increase in prices of raw ingredients such as fish, potatoes and oil has resulted in a perfect storm with businesses left in the financial mire. Pictured: Maru which has an average price of £242

The combination of a surge in bills and an increase in prices of raw ingredients such as fish, potatoes and oil has resulted in a perfect storm with businesses left in the financial mire. Pictured: Maru which has an average price of £242

The combination of a surge in bills and an increase in prices of raw ingredients such as fish, potatoes and oil has resulted in a perfect storm with businesses left in the financial mire. Pictured: Maru which has an average price of £242

He said: ‘Brexit has been absolutely disastrous for the trade. We launched our guide 32 years ago before the Maastricht treaty. The ability to recruit Europeans, was one of the key drivers of the restaurant revolution that took place in the UK over the last 25 years or so. [At] many of the top restaurants … 80% plus of their staff would have been European.

‘Britain has woken up to good quality food. Now the question is, how many of us can afford it, and is there anyone to serve it?’

Harden said the impact of Brexit has been ‘most dramatic at top restaurants’ with many opting to charge diners for pre-paid fixed prices.

He explained: ‘The tasting menu has become much more prevalent, to help restaurants work out their margins. The answer for many is just to feed fewer people and to open less.’

The general rate of increase was a record in the last decade and the highest in the 20 years since 2000. Pictured: Kitchen Table has an average price of £330, according to Harden's London Restaurant Guide

The general rate of increase was a record in the last decade and the highest in the 20 years since 2000. Pictured: Kitchen Table has an average price of £330, according to Harden's London Restaurant Guide

The general rate of increase was a record in the last decade and the highest in the 20 years since 2000. Pictured: Kitchen Table has an average price of £330, according to Harden’s London Restaurant Guide

Costs are not just rising in the top tier either, as traditional British fish and chip shops now warn they are facing an ‘extinction event’.

The combination of a surge in bills and an increase in prices of raw ingredients such as fish, potatoes and oil has resulted in a perfect storm with businesses left in the financial mire.

Even the boss of Argentinian steakhouse chain Gaucho warned the restaurants would be charging £100 for a steak if they passed their increasing energy costs to diners.

The popular chain says it would have to face trebling its prices in order to maintain its current margins.

Businesses that were previously profitable are now facing ‘crippling’ losses with energy prices having at least doubled for most following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The conflict has pushed up European gas prices by nearly 400 per cent in the last six months, sending electricity costs soaring. 

Prices per head at Harden’s top restaurants for 2023 

London: 

Araki £380

Kitchen Table £330

Endo at Rotunda £285

Roketsu £285

Story £272

Maru £242

Ledbury £236

Ikoyi £231

Core £226

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester £224

Sketch (Lecture Room) £223

Da Terra £223

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay £210

The Frog £208

Clove Club £206 

UK:

Ynyshir Hall, Eglwys Fach £410

Fat Duck, Bray £353

Midsummer House, Cambridge £321  

L’Enclume, Cartmel £296

Raby Hunt, Summerhouse £277

Moor Hall, Aughton £273

Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Great Milton £269

Waterside Inn, Bray £226

Whatley Manor, Easton Grey £217

Outlaw’s New Road, Port Isaac £215

Mana, Manchester £203

Lympstone Manor, Lympstone £201

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