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Nov 20, 2009 06:01 AM

Mistake in Jermyn Street, London.

Took my two teenage sons for lunch at Rowley's a couple of weeks ago, which I used to visit often in the 1980s and was excellent value at the time. Things have changed. Three large steak specials and chips, no veg, no other courses, two glasses of Berry Bros claret, two beers and two Cokes was £128. The food was just fine, and I know I should have looked at a menu outside, but really!

I hear that The Gavroche does a 3 course set lunch, including half a bottle of wine, for £40 a head. Please someone tell me that it's no good.

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  1. Robin, I understand lunch at Le Gavroche is "so bad" it is booked up months in advance; and it is far more expensive than £40 it is a staggering £48 ;-)

    3 Replies
    1. re: PhilD

      It's even worse than that! 48 quid gets you (from memory) a choice of three dishes at each course, bottled water (should you want it), coffee and petite fours. Outrageous!

      1. re: Gav

        48 quid?

        Are the people who go there literally made of money? Absolute extortion. And it's *only* a GFG cooking 8.

        1. re: Harters

          The extortion happened in Rowley's.

          As for ££, well it was a "special occasion".....Unique, actually, as it (going there) will never happen again.

    2. My wife and I had Chateaubriand for two, which was excellent, and a half bottle of claret for dinner at Rowley's. The tab came to L111 (including 12.5 % service charge). Not cheap, but not outlandish for the quality of the beef. My impression was that their prices were not out of line with other West End restaurants specializing in top end beef.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lsernoff

        If that Chateaubriand was part of a three course meal with aperitifs, half a bottle of claret each and coffee etc. then maybe it's not too bad. However, one course and half a bottle of wine between you would make it outrageous. Did you drink "Berry's Good Ordinary Claret" like I did? This is what it costs at Berry's shop, 5 minutes walk from Rowley's, who charge £9.50 a glass:

        1. re: Robin Joy

          Robin - what size was your glass of wine? All West End restaurants work on 3xcost + VAT so if you were on 250ml measures that would be about right.

          As for the steaks, were they sirloin, fillet etc? Ginger Pig is over £40 a kilo for fillet over their butchers counter now an not much less for sirloin (just a guide). Standard steak measure is 300 gms / 10oz. Apply the rule of 3 mark-up again and do the maths...

          Bottom line - a la carte, luxury ingredients cost.

          Yes, the Gavroche lunch is belting value, but check the menu - it's cheaper cuts and simpler processes which is how they make it work.

          1. re: marcusj

            Thanks for the reply, but it's a while ago so I can't be sure on the glass size! Anyway, I'm looking at their online wine list and I reckon if it was a large glass they'd say so. I'm guessing 4 to the bottle (187ml) which gives 4.6 times mark up even if they pay the 8.10/bottle public by the case price, which I bet they don't. It's still 4 times if you buy a bottle.

            The steaks are sirlon and very nice with their lovely sauce, but they're not from GPig or costing Rowley's anywhere near £40/Kilo.

            Rowley's is more middle market than luxury and it's almost a set menu (2 main course options I think), not really a la carte. Perfectly OK, but just the wrong price, and there are plenty of better value options close by.

            "Simpler processes" at the Gavroche than Rowley's? Not sure about that.

            Enough from me.