What recession? City bankers celebrate bonuses with £1,000 (per person!) meal


Last updated at 15:47 24 January 2008

There may be fears of a recession.

But the dark financial cloud hovering over the City has not, it seems, dampened everyone's spirits.

One restaurant is busy taking orders for a meal costing a princely £1,000 a head to celebrate the annual round of bumper bonuses.

And if tumbling share prices have left some investors with a distinct loss of appetite, then the Vivat Bacchus Bonus Tasting Menu is a surefire route to finding it again.

Seven courses, each accompanied by a carefully-selected glass of something special promise gastronomic bliss - for those who can afford it.

If Sevruga caviar, Bahama rock lobster and grilled Wagyu fillet steak don't do the trick, then at least the combination of champagne, vintage vodka, fine wine, 45-year-old port, all washed down with a glass of Martell Cordon Bleu brandy, will erase any worries about the bill.

Farringdon-based Vivat Bacchus, a favourite with city workers, has devised the exclusive menu to tempt diners who are feeling flush with the latest six-figure annual bonus.

The tasting menu has to be booked 48 hours in advance, and is only available for a minium of two diners, because some of the ingredients are so exclusive they can only be purchased to order.

Word of mouth has already brought in six bookings - including a banker and an accountant - and restaurant bosses are expecting more diners to follow.

The meal starts with a glass of champagne, moving on to caviar and glass of frozen vodka.

Then comes rock lobster linguini flavoured with a 40-year-old Armagnac - with a glass of wine. Next is Joselito Gran Reserve ham, rated as one of the best in the world, with glass of wine number two.

Felling hungry yet? There's more.

After the ham comes a piece of grilled Wagyu fillet steak, marbling score nine, with foie gras and chips - except in this case they go by the French name "pont neuf".

Wagyu is an ancient strain of Japanese cattle, now also bred in Australia, and the meat is renowned for its price and flavour.

All the meat is graded for marbling on a scale from one to 12, the price rising with each grade.

To accompany the world's most expensive meat goes one of its most expensive wines - a glass of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. A mere £650 a bottle.

Next comes a cheese course - with port, followed by a chocolate souffle with another exclusive tipple Chateau D'Yquem, which sells at £495 a bottle.

Finally, if there is any room, the diner can sup a coffee and enjoy some petit fours with a glass of brandy.

Restaurant co-owner Neleen Strauss said: "Many of our diners work in the City and often ask for something unique during bonus season. We're only too happy to provide that.

"I have found over the years that when bad news begins to circulate around the stock market, our City customers never fully lose their appetites."

As for her personal favourite? The souffle and Chateau D'Yquem are a winner.

But if the wines don't suit all tastes, the restaurant is it seems to happy for diners to pick something even more expensive, or perhaps something a bit easier on the budget.

The restaurant brought out a gourmet hamper last Christmas for £45,000 and took at least half a dozen orders. It is expecting more for its tasting menu because of the bonuses this month.

The Bonus Tasting Menu

Glass of Billecart Salmon Rose

Royal Sevruga Caviar with Buckwheat Blinis, Crème Fraiche and Lemon

Kauffman Frozen Vodka

Fresh Bahama Rock Lobster Linguini flavoured with 40 year old Armagnac

Forrester Meinert Chenin

Hand Sliced Joselito Gran Reserve Ham

Vega Sicilia Unico

Grilled Wagyu Fillet Steak (Marbling Score 9) with Red Onion Marmalade, Seared Goose Foie Gras, Pont Neuf and Sauté Green Beans

Chateau Lafite Rothschild

Cheese Board of 15 varieties, Quince Jelly, Fruit and Biscuits

1963 Taylors Port

Volhrana Chocolate Soufflé with Clotted Cream

Chateau D' Yquem

Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

Martell Cordon Bleu

£1000 per person (min 2/max 6) with accompanying wine by the glass