The UK doesn’t have the best cuisine in the world, but we certainly have an appetite for foody show offs.
Meaning our numerous celebrity chefs are always pushing the boundaries (or being stupid) with food. Cue the most expensive ready meal — a fish pie costing £314.
It’s creator Charlie Bigham admitted the pie was pricey, but said (pun-intended) “It is only a drop in the ocean for customers accustomed to the finer things of life”. Which leads us onto exploring what else these people might be eating — time to take a dive into the opulent ocean of seafood.
Severely endangered, the rare and mysterious bluefin tuna is the holy grail of tuna fish. Its raw belly meat is highly prized for sushi and sashimi and its expensive too — very expensive.
One weighing 489lb recently sold for a record $1.76 million at a Tokyo auction, so that works out to $3599 per/lb. Shame it’s too large to be caught with your fishing gear else you’d become a big fish overnight.
There is nothing quite like tasty fish soup, but imagine how good it would taste if you’d paid £108 for a bowl. The Buddha Jumps Over the Wall is the name of the most expensive fish soup in the world and it can be purchased at Kai Mayfair in London.
It contains a wealth of ingredients including abalone, Japanese flower mushroom, sea cucumber and dried scallops. It also used to contain a shark’s fin (although this has been revised due to controversy). If you fancy trying it, you have to give 5 days notice.
When it comes to the finer things in life, caviar is never far away. And the most expensive variety of them all is the highly prized Almas caviar from Iran.
The Caviar House & Prunier in Piccadilly is the only place in the world that sells it. It comes in a tin made of 24-carat gold and costs around £16,000.
Not as expensive as other seafood, oysters are certainly the most decadent food from the sea and have always been considered a delicacy. Casanova allegedly ate 50 each day and Julius Caesar was rumoured to have invaded Britain in search of its oysters.
He should have headed to the Fal river estuary between Truro and Falmouth in Cornwall where some of the tastiest oysters in the world can be found. Today it’s a special area of conservation, so only boats powered by sail or oar are allowed. It’s also a public fishery, so if you have a licence you can try your luck hand-dredging for oysters.
Along with caviar, lobster has for many years been welcome on the dinner tables of the wealthy. Lobster is also the key ingredient in the world’s most expensive frittata.
Served at Norma’s restaurant in New York, the Zillion Dollar Lobster Frittata contains 1lb of lobster meat and 10 ounces of Sevruga caviar. It will set you back a cool $1000 if you mistake it for a fancy omelette (which it is).
Fish curry is arguably India’s finest export after tea, but how much would you pay for a really good fish curry? Well, the most expensive in the world can be found in London (again) at the Bombay Brasserie.
The Samundari Khazana — translated as ‘seafood treasure’ — contains Devon crab, white truffle, Beluga caviar and a Scottish lobster coated in gold! £2000 is how much it will cost you to see that lobster.
Heston’s Sound of the Sea
Love him or hate him, Heston Blumenthal is certainly unique with his Willy Wonka approach to preparing food. So when he made his version of a fish pie it came served with an iPod. Hmm…
Yes the iPod provides the sound of crashing waves, which apparently intensifies the taste of the pie. Served in a wooden box, the pie appears to be covered in sand and seashells, but is of course completely edible.
Ingredients include tapioca, razor clams, crushed fried baby eels, cod liver oil and langoustine oil topped with abalone, shrimps and oysters and three kinds of edible seaweed. You’ll need the iPod back for when the waiter tells you how much you owe.
More about that ready meal
So back to the £315 ready meal. Well, you can order it online and it gets delivered to your house in an aluminium case (handcuffed to a security guard).
Inside you’ll find the usual suspects: Cornish lobster, turbot poached in Dom Perignon, white alba truffles, Beluga caviar and select oysters. Even the salt used is of the highest quality and sourced from Slovenia, so it’s really not the usual fish supper. Though some of us would still opt for a freshly caught fish supper wrapped in newspaper over all of the above.