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Square Meal for the Square Mile

Introducing London's most expensive set menu:

At £1000-a-head, a seven-course culinary extravaganza - a snip for bonus-engorged bankers in the City of London - the Square Mile.

The menu was designed by Farringdon Street wine bar Vivat Bacchus after customers asked for a special tasting menu to celebrate the bonus season. Co-owner Neleen Strauss said: "Some of our regular customersare always up for fun. I asked them how much their bonus was and howmuch they were prepared to pay. They said 'make it a nice roundnumber'."

She and head chef Robert Staegemann filled the menu with all their "non-vegetarian fantasies" and matched each course with one of the world's great wines.

To start: a glass of Billecart Salmon Rosé, one of the finest pink champagnes. Then course one, a bowl of Royal Sevruga caviar served with buckwheat blinis rated "light as air". The accompanimentwas a more than generous slug of 2003 vintage Kauffman vodka.

Next, a Bahama rock lobster linguini - flavoured with 40-year-old Armagnac. The wine was a South African 1996 Forrester Meinert Chenin.

Followed by a plate of paper-thin slices of Spanish Joselito Gran Reserve ham from pigs living on a diet of acorns. Then a Dr Atkins dream or a heart specialist's worst nightmare: a slab ofgrilled Wagyu fillet steak from cows so pampered they get massages,topped with foie gras. Then a rare sight ofvegetables, a small portion of green beans. The wine reached itspinnacle of extravagance, a glass from a £700 bottle of Chateau LafiteRothschild.

A board of 15 cheeses ranged from a truff le-infused Brillat Savarin to a knock-your-head off blue called Fourme au Maury. The wine? Port ofcourse. A dreamy 1963 Taylors.

Then the pudding, a chocolate soufflé with another of the bankers' favourites, a Chateau D'Yquem, a wine so rarefied that each bunch of grapes in it is tastedindividually. Coffee followed accompanied by a largeglass of Martell Cordon Bleu cognac. The bill for two? £2,250 includinga 12.5 per cent service charge.

According to Ms Strauss, London is probably the only city in the world that could support such a menu.

OK New Yorkers, I'm sure you can go one better?


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