Archive for the ‘rip off restaurant mark-ups’ Category

Kitchen W8, Kensington, London

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

They say you should never judge a book by its cover and I guess that goes for the title too. With the external look of a mid range café, and named after the second smallest room in a house (1930’s house at any rate), Kitchen W8 does not elicit Great Expectations.


Rip-off wine markups? There’s an app for that.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Andy Hayler is living proof that being a software entrepreneur can actually season globe-trotting gastronautismological ambitions. And he has finally managed to combine both careers, commercially, with the launch of Wine Search, an iPhone app that checks the price of erm…wine.

Having sold only 20,000 apps at £1.49 each, probably amounting to around a month’s wages in his heyday, I challenged Andy that he had not yet even covered the development costs. He replied that the dev costs were “actually not that high” and reported the venture as profitable.  Fair enough, worth a try then.


The Blue Bicycle, York

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

A bizarre encounter with some of York’s finest scummy kids, as we walked from our hotel in leafy Clifton past the glorious Minster, meant that we nearly missed our table at the Blue Bicycle, a place recommended by a friend who used to live here. I had expected a smooth passage (both before and after the meal) but, to be honest, the bottom feeding teenage toe-rags that I almost ended up having to punch away from us, left me wondering whether there is a city in this country that is safe to cross on foot. Where could I have been more surprised to learn this than the twee and ancient Roman city of Eboracum?

By contrast, the interior of the Blue Bicycle is very Bohemian with ultramarine water glasses, Van Gogh sunflower coloured walls, and Lautrec painted mirrors. A little reminiscent of the label of a Hahn Estates Cycles Gladiator wine, and no doubt inspired by the same genre of painting.


Lucy’s, Bowness on Windermere

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

The business card for Lucy’s carries the tagline “share in the experience”.  Oh dear, looks like I’m washing up again…


Yankee Diddle Dandy

Monday, September 14th, 2009

How can New Yorkers afford to attend Yankees matches?

Yee-hah - GO YANKEES!

In addition to watching the game, in true New York style, every opportunity is offered to lighten your wallet. Here is the full shopping list:


The Angel at Hetton – still the best gastro-pub

Monday, August 31st, 2009

My favourite gastro-pub in the whole wide world is situated in the Yorkshire Dales near Skipdale (for Emmerdale fans that is just a few miles from Hotton).  Back in the real world, Hetton village is a mere cockstride from Rylstone, famous for bra-less jam-makers.

An idyll to idle in - the divine Angel


40 | 30 Carry on up the Gherkin

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The gherkin

I was going to review this place next year when I could have titled the post, 4030 2010.  But on the 40th floor bar of 30 St Mary’s Axe the view could not wait and, verily, it must be one of the most stunning in the whole of London.

Top of the (financial) world


Fitzroy Dolls, Hotel Russell, London

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Hotel restaurants always give me a slight sinking feeling. Reminders of 1980s boil in the bag meals; they always smell of stale cooking, probably because breakfast buffets are when they get 90% of their traffic.

The Hotel Russell probably counts early risers 99% of its clientele.  It’s easier to get a table at The Ivy than a breakfast table here.  Dinner, however, was predictably quiet.  A few lonely foreign travellers and one table of two couples from Yorkshire who were asking for more gravy – gravy shortages are punishable by death north of Watford Gap.

Grand old Dame


Gaucho Grill wine list leaves bad taste in mouth

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Tonight I am drinking Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Malbec 2006.  A very nice wine and worth every penny of the £8.50 I paid Costco for it.

This is one of the staples of the Gaucho Grill wine list, but when average wine markups in the UK are between 100 and 200% (i.e. double to three times the wholesale price) how come Gaucho thinks it can charge £37.50, a 341% uplift, and that is against the RETAIL price.  Is this a new British and Commonwealth record?

On the terrace (or balcony) - Malbec


Gaucho Grill wine rip-off rages on

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

I’ve written before about the rip-off wine mark-ups at the Gaucho Grill (branches in London and Manchester).

Although the wine is outrageously priced, I do pop in occasionally for a top class steak.  And so last week saw me in the Manchester restaurant.  I thought it would be interesting to revisit the wine prices.

In my post of March 2007, I benchmarked a bottle of Susana Balbo Malbec (excellent stuff) at an eye watering mark-up of 250%.  The bottle, available at the time from the Wine Society at £11.95, was marked up to £42.

Time to check out the latest prices.  I checked the Wine Society website and, fair play, it is in stock and still £11.95.  Inflation rate = 0%.

When I checked out the Gaucho Grill wine list, the price has inflated by a Graf Zeppelinistic 22.6% to £51.50.  This now makes the mark-up (against retail price, and one assumes that Gaucho can buy much cheaper) a groin kicking 331%.  By far the highest I have ever seen in any restaurant.

The matured meat may be superb, but I would rather cut my pupils out with a serrated steak knife, than pay these prices.

By all means eat at the Gaucho, but when it comes to wine, just say “NO”.