London's restaurant prices have shot up by record levels this year, according to research released by Harden's London Restaurant Guide.
The guide found that prices had increased by 11.1% in the last year, with the cost of an average dinner for two busting the £90 barrier for the first time. The average cost of a standard dinner for one (including three courses, or equivalent, wine, coffee and service) at the 1,800+ restaurants listed in the guide is £45.01.
Co-editor Peter Harden said: "In the 21 years we have followed the restaurant scene, we've never before seen annual inflation anywhere near 10%."
However he added that the last 12 months had seen a ‘perfect storm' with food prices increasing sharply worldwide, plus the one-off effect of the January VAT increase.
"If there is any comfort at all to be found for restaurant-goers, it is that you have to see this gigantic rise in the context of a modest increase the previous year. Stripping out VAT effects, underlying prices have - over the past two years taken together - increased by ‘only' 4.5% per annum," he added
The research for the 2012 guide also found the number of openings over the last year (107) was the lowest since 2000 (102), but co-editor Richard Harden added that the quality of openings was much higher.
"The way quality is - at last - flourishing in the London restaurant scene really is impressive," he said.
The current economic climate was found to have relatively little effect on closures, with 72 last year, well within the normal range for the last six years (64-87).
Harden's top 10 notable openings of the year: Brawn, Bethnal Green
Les Deux Salons, Covent Garden
Pollen Street Social, Mayfair
Riding House Cafe, Fitzrovia
By Emily Manson
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