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Wed 8th Nov 2023 - Harden’s: 50% year-on-year rise in restaurants charging £150 per head or more for a meal
Harden’s – 50% year-on-year rise in restaurants charging £150 per head or more for a meal sees ‘new tier of hyper-luxurious restaurants’: A “new tier of hyper-luxurious restaurants” is being created by a 50% year-on-year rise in restaurants charging £150 per head or more. Above-inflation price hikes of 10.7% in London and 14.7% outside the capital have placed more meals out of reach even of relatively affluent diners, the new edition of Harden’s London Restaurants claims. The 2024 guide notes there are now 54 restaurants in London (and 56 nationally) charging more than £150 per head for a meal. By contrast, in 2016, there was only one venue in the capital (and five nationally) at such a price level. Growth is most pronounced in the number of restaurants charging more than £200 per head, with the number of such entries growing 59% and 46% respectively inside and outside the capital (to 27 and 19). Restaurants charging £250-plus almost doubled in London, from six to 11, but stayed the same outside the capital (eight). The guide’s editor and co-founder, Peter Harden, said: “It’s somewhat ironic that the venue diners most often nominate as London’s most overpriced restaurant is still the River Café. But at £150 per head, it’s definitely no longer an outlier in terms of pricing. It is tempting to conclude that the capital is becoming a playground for what used to be called the jet set. But historically, one of the striking features of the London restaurant scene has been its lack of a top tier of splurgy, expensive destinations such as those that have long characterised top-end dining in Paris and Tokyo. Perhaps it is perverse to complain if London can now hold its own internationally.” Amongst the cheaper restaurants in the guide’s “Top of the Pots” pick, Indian restaurant Dastaan in Ewell, Surrey, was top performer in the cheapest (£54 or less) category, followed by Euston’s Roti King. Endo Kazutoshi’s Endo at the Rotunda again achieved the guide’s highest rating for food, and Clare Smyth’s Core was again most nominated for where diners enjoyed their top gastronomic experience of the year. For the first time, the Stafford Collection’s Norma achieved the highest food rating for an Italian restaurant, and Bibi provided another winner for the JKS Restaurants group, becoming the capital’s top Indian restaurant for the first time.

Hardens – London restaurant scene in ‘tepid’ state of growth: The London restaurant scene is in “tepid” state of growth, the new edition of Harden’s London Restaurants notes. Last year, the guide said the capital had seen the lowest level of new restaurant openings in more than a decade. The situation has not improved in 2023, with the opening rate in the latest guide the lowest level since 2012. “The guide highlights the ‘tepid’ state of growth in a London restaurant scene, which has failed post-covid to retain the vitality it has shown since 2000, the guide said. “The opening rate of 123 newcomers in the 2024 guide is the lowest level of openings since its 2012 edition, which – combined with a relatively high rate of 77 closures – equates to a current level of net openings more in line with the growth rate in the 1990s than that since 2000, despite London’s 30% population growth since the start of the millennium." Modern British was the most popular cuisine choice for new openings, with 30 restaurant debuts across London. Italian was the next favourite, with 18 new openings, followed by Japanese, with ten openings. In terms of location, central London remained dominant, with 50 new arrivals. In the suburbs, south London led the way with 21 openings, boosted by the Battersea Power Station development. East London followed with 19 openings, while west London equalled north London’s rate of openings with 16 apiece.

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