An Italian white truffle topped with edible silver, or a caviar-infused doughnut lathered in foie gras from a champion mother goose can only mean one thing: the so-extravagant-it’s-silly food concept. Forget the ludicrous cronut or the breakfast mutation known as the waffogato – a combination of waffle-shaped ice cream with maple syrup espresso. If you couldn’t give a hoot about hype, flavour or cost, here’s our rundown of the dinners you don’t really need but will be dying to try.
1. The world’s most expensive set menu, Ibiza
By all rights, first place on this – or any – food list should go to Spanish double Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero who runs Sublimotion (£1,198 per head for 20 courses). Perhaps more than anybody else, he has pushed the parameters of gastronomic theatre to its limits and his ultra-sensory gamble in Sant Jordi de ses Salines is off-the-hook bonkers.
For starters, the restaurant has 27 chefs for only 12 diners, and it specialises in indulgent tomfoolery mixing gourmet illusion with Harry Potter logic. To date, they’ve created edible personalised entrance tickets, self-mixing test tube cocktails, white chocolate foie gras doughnuts and balloons filled with cake – all of it synced to a head-spinning, virtual backdrop of 360-degree projections and high-tech eye candy. None of it makes sense, until you consider the technicians and visual artists working behind the scenes.
2. The £925 Royal Turkish kebab, London
Feast your eyes on this: a triple whammy of Japanese Wagyu beef, milk-fed lamb and goat all smushed together into a traditional kofta, then garnished with French Chaumes cheese, morel mushrooms, courgette flowers, basil, Jerusalem artichokes, and vintage 25-year-old vinegar. Less post-party drunken mistake, more Ottoman indulgence, the Royal is served-up with love at upmarket deli Hazev in Canary Wharf, London. Its Turkish owner is so good, in fact, he won the best chef prize at the British Kebab Awards.
3. Golden Phoenix cupcake, Dubai
A culinary kingdom of fat lollipop-shaped towers and cream bun-contoured hotels, the UAE was always going to make it onto this list. While off-the-wall Scoopi Cafe created the world’s most expensive ice cream – a dod of Madagascan vanilla with Iranian saffron and Italian black truffle for £575 – it is Bloomsbury’s Boutique's outrageously-priced sponge that wins hands down. Made from Ugandan vanilla and rare Italian chocolate, then trimmed with sheets of 23-karat gold and gold-dipped strawberries, it costs £700 and requires 48-hour notice to make. Sceptical eyebrow raised? You’re not the only one. In Dubai, if it’s expensive enough, some people will eat anything. Or just desserts in the desert, if you like.
4. Golden Opulence sundae, New York City
First introduced at Serendipity 3, an ice cream parlour on the Upper East Side, this Guinness World Record holder is as over-the-top as it is preposterous. Covered in edible gold leaf and drizzled with Amedei Porcelana (the world’s most expensive chocolate, should you not know), it is topped off with pieces of Venezuelan Chuao chocolate, gold-topped almonds and candied fruit from Paris. As a final flourish, resting neatly on top is a ramekin of sweet caviar infused with passion fruit, orange and Armagnac. You’ve got to give it to the Yanks: eating nearly half a year’s grocery bill (around $1000) on an ice cream.
5. Octuple Bypass Burger, Las Vegas
More toxic than the canteen leftovers at Chernobyl, this hamburger horror show is served up at Sin City’s Heart Attack Grill where scantily clad waitresses, dressed as nurses, serve up burgers and fries.
They're not just any burgers though: the Octuple Bypass consists of eight half-pound beef patties, forty bacon rashers, 8 squares of glow-in-the-dark processed cheese, crisp onion rings, and a lonely, sliced tomato. Talk about meat sweats. For the full 19,900 calorie effect – enough to keep a baby elephant alive – it comes served in a lard-coated bun. If your eyes water just thinking about this bloaty, trans-fatty mess, we’d recommend seeing your GP straight away.
6. Deep-fried creme egg sliders, London
The Scots have long been the UK’s most famous dirty food lovers, but their long-held lust for deep-frying anything to within an inch of its life – Mars bars, Scotch eggs, tubs of ice cream – has managed to work its way up and over Hadrian’s Wall.
Enter the Studio Kitchen at K West Hotel & Spa which created this hard-to-believe one-off: a brioche bun dipped in white chocolate and dusted in raspberry sprinkles, then filled with a battered Creme Egg, topped with mascarpone cream and strawberry jelly. Trying to get their own artery-clogging revenge, the capital’s latest Scottish restaurant Mac and Wild serves-up filthy deep-fried pancakes stuffed to the heavens with chocolate ganache and salted caramel. Let’s be frank, eating this gloopy monstrosity in daylight is pretty shameful – but delicious.
7. Chicken wings stuffed with foie gras, New York City
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Indulgent gluttony doesn’t need to come with a hefty price tag. The Tebasaki Gyoza at Mu Raman in Long Island City cost only £12, but are labour-intensive bundles of deep-fried joy that take days to make. Famous across the eastern seaboard, the wings are first meticulously deboned, then re-upholstered with scoops of creamy foie gras, hunks of brioche and a five-day aged quince compote.
The batter isn’t any old chip shop junk either: it’s made from well-seasoned rice flour and meringue. An incredible mouthful of yum. Mmmmm.