I've spent half a century writing for radio and print—mostly print. I hope to be still tapping the keys as I take my last breath.
A dinner at Bangkok’s Dome Restaurant in the Lebua Hotel has been billed as the most expensive in the world. Held in February 2007, the meal carried a price tag of $30,000, not including taxes and tip.
The 10-course feast assembled by six of the world’s most celebrated chefs attracted 15 high-flyers from the business worlds of Asia and the United States—although ABC News reported that “Ten would-be Japanese diners cancelled after a New Year’s Eve bombing in Bangkok killed three people.”
The menu included: scallops, lobster, kobe beef, guinea fowl, lamb, and pigeon. The whole was washed down with rare wines and the finest champagne.
Good Meals Should Start With an Aperitif
Something to relax the temperament and prepare the palate comes in the form of a before-dinner drink.
Tokyo’s Ritz-Carlton has just the perfect cocktail for those with money to burn: the $18,000 martini. It’s a garden-variety mix of gin and vermouth, but in addition to an olive or twist of lemon, this drink comes with a one-carat diamond. There’s also a personal rendition of the song “Diamonds are Forever” to go along with the drink.
Some people don’t care for hard liquor, so perhaps a little bubbly will stimulate the taste buds. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, a bottle of 1907 Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Champagne is going to $275,000 a pop. The wine was on its way to Czar Nicholas II of Russia when the ship carrying it was torpedoed by a German submarine in the Gulf of Finland. A couple of thousand bottles were salvaged in 1998 and are now on the market.
With tongue firmly planted in cheek, someone who tasted this vintage swill described the bubbly as having “intense aromas of gunflint and black rifle powder mixed with a briny note like roasted oysters.”
High-End Restaurants Are Doing Well
While the 99 percent make do with mac and cheese until the next paycheck comes in, the well-heeled are tripping over themselves trying to get reservations at some of the world’s priciest eateries.
A $2,000 Dinner at Sublimotion
Sublimotion is a restaurant on the Mediterranean island of Ibiza. For a trifling €1,900 (about $2,000), Chef Paco Roncero prepares dinner using molecular gastronomy techniques, whatever they are. Only 12 people get to sit at a communal table to celebrate a “magical achievement, of a meeting in time and space.”
Three hours and ten courses later, diners can waddle out wondering whether or not to sell their firstborn to pay for the whole extravaganza.
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An $8,840 Pizza at Agropoli
For those with really, really deep pockets or a bunch of silly money they want to get rid of, there’s the Ludovic XIII pizza at Agropoli in the south of Italy.
This is not ordinary pizza with double cheese and pepperoni. The Ludovic XIII is pretty special: “The 20 cm crust,” writes Steff Sanchez of MSN News, “is topped with lobster, tuna caviar, and a pouring of Louis XIII Remy Martin cognac. And all this comes at the mouth-watering price of £6,700 (about $8,840).
It does not come in a cardboard box, nor do you have to tip the delivery guy.
Forbes Lists Expensive Eateries
At Forbes Magazine, they cater to the needs of CEOs and diplomats from impoverished countries with generous expense accounts. Writer Karla Alindahao listed some of the places where such a person could get a decent meal. These dining rooms go in for a prix fixe tariff:
- New York: Masa’s in Manhattan—$595 per person;
- Paris: Restaurant Guy Savoy—Monnaie—$525 per person;
- Kyoto: Kitcho—$475 per person;
- Shanghai: Ultraviolet—$450 per person.
Those, of course, are minimum prices—there are no maximums.
In this league, Chef’s Table, Brooklyn, seems like a real steal at $306. For that kind of scratch, you get a 15-course tasting menu that draws its inspiration from French and Japanese cuisine. It’s said to be one of the hardest tables to book in New York.
The Most Expensive Desserts
The Guinness Book of World Records gives the nod to Serendipity 3 restaurant, New York, as home of the most expensive dessert. The Frrrozen Haute Chocolate ice cream sundae carried a price tag of $25,000 in 2007.
Sadly, this confection no longer appears on the menu. They’ve gone all down market at Serendipity 3, and now all they offer is the Golden Opulence Sundae for just a thousand bucks. How is a person supposed to impress his date with a cheapy like that, even if it does come adorned with 23-carat gold leaf?
A $3,333.33 Sundae
The Three Twins ice cream company ups the ante in the sundae business. For $3,333.33 punters can enjoy the Absurdity Sundae that is “a decadent banana split made with syrups from three rare dessert wines (a 1960s vintage port, a Chateau D’Yquem and a German Trockenbeerenausiese). It’s served with an ice cream spoon from the 1850s and comes accompanied by a cellist performance.”
. . . or the $60,000 Version
Why stop there? Diners can enjoy this piece of frippery on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. The founder of Three Twins will personally accompany gourmets to the peak and make the dish. The $60,000 price tag includes first-class airfare to Tanzania, a five-star hotel, tour guide, and, of course, a t-shirt.
Diners can stare lovingly at this memento as they wait for the credit card statement to come in.
A Fruit Cake Covered in Diamonds
Such extravagance is eclipsed by the sparkling $1.65-million Diamond Fruit Cake. Created by Japanese pastry chef Jeong Hong-yong for Christmas 2005, the fruitcake is studded with diamonds—223 of them to be exact. Apart from the diamonds, the recipe is a secret, which is a shame because there must be loads of people who would want to bake one for the festive season.
- According to Ralph Thomas, the author of Freakonomics, McDonald’s McDouble is “the cheapest, most nutritious and bountiful food that has ever existed.”
- Many of the world’s most expensive restaurants are in Japan. This should not bother Britney Spears, who once opined, “I’ve never really wanted to go to Japan. Simply because I don’t like eating fish.”
- A frequently quoted Ohio State University study says that 60 percent of restaurants fail in their first year, and that 80 percent don’t make it past five years.
- “What it’s Like to Sip a Century-Old Champagne From a Shipwreck?” Chris Hoel, St. Louis Magazine, February 22, 2012
- “Sublimotion, Ibiza: Inside the World’s Most Expensive Restaurant.” Teresa Machan, The Telegraph, June 17, 2014.
- “The World’s Most Expensive Foods.” Steff Sanchez, MSN News, August 7, 2014.
- “The World’s 12 Most Expensive Meals.” Karla Alindahao, Forbes Magazine, March 3, 2016.
- “The $1,000 Ice Cream Sundae …” Victoria Wellman, Mail Online, May 10, 2012.
- “World’s Most Expensive Ice Cream Sundae.” Three Twins ice cream, undated.
- “The World’s 10 Most Expensive Desserts: Diamond Fruitcakes & Gold-encrusted Ice Cream.” Financesonline.com, undated.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2016 Rupert Taylor