You may have yet to crack the Forbes Rich List, but that doesn’t mean you have to eat like you haven’t.
Here at Boss Hunting, we love food. Unfortunately, we’re also yet to crack the Rich List, and so the life of a culinary enthusiast can take its toll on the depth of our pockets. The good news? We’ve done a bit of research during our travels around the globe and come up with an intimate but necessary list of the world's best value set menus to help you achieve those culinary dreams at pretty decent price. You may need a plane ticket to get to these places, but that can be organised once your lunch and dinner reservations have been made.
It’s difficult not to think of Italian food when you think of dining out in NYC, and it’s difficult to think of high-end Italian food in NYC without sparing a thought for Mario Batali’s Del Posto. Del Posto is the kind of place you’d feel at home after attending some kind of event that requires a tuxedo, but thank god they’ve also opened their doors to the (albeit slightly above) average Joe.
Drop in for lunch and save yourself over $100, where US$49 will get you the choice of an antipasto, secondi and a dolci, and for an extra tenner you can upgrade that to include an additional pasta dish. If you look up their 100 layer lasagna or their ravioli alla Bolognese, you’re going to want to make that upgrade. A regular choice for New York’s elite, if it’s good enough for Jay and Bey, it’s good enough for us.
Anyone who’s spent a weekend in Hong Kong knows that the brunch scene here puts your avocado toast to shame. Firstly, you certainly don’t rock up in your gym gear. Secondly, you should be prepared to drink a bottomless amount of champagne. And thirdly, especially in the case of Duddell’s, you can expect Michelin quality food to touch your lips before midday, and at a fraction of the cost.
Whilst upstairs at Duddell’s houses a fine-dining two Michelin starred restaurant, the downstairs brunch salon is where you’ll find us. For $680 (AUD $110), Duddell’s will offer you as many high end dumplings (think foie gras or shrimp and scallop with caviar), the best sweet and sour pork you’ll ever have, and unlimited top ups of Veuve, wine and/or a selection of cocktails. If you find yourself backing a winner at Happy Valley the night before, you’re more than welcome to treat yourself and replace the Veuve with free flowing Krug Grande Cuvée for an additional AUD$300 pp.
Coming in at no.27 on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants, the quality of the food at The Ledbury is pretty outstanding. Aussie export Brett Graham has come a long way since starting his career at 15 in Newcastle, and if you book yourself in for a lunch date at Mr. Graham’s, you can treat yourself to a four course set menu for £75, or pair it with some of the best wines on the planet for a grand total of £135. Considering the four-course set menu for dinner can cost you between £140 to £225 per person, the value here is pretty self-explanatory.
The menu changes seasonally, but the standard of the lunchtime dishes is definitely on par with its nighttime sibling. Currently, you can expect dishes along the lines of truffle pumpkin soup, lobster claw, partridge, phenomenal desserts, and an epic selection of cheeses. Additionally, the service here is outstanding, and you won’t be made to feel any less of a baller for taking opting to dine there for lunch rather than dinner.
If you’re willing to take time from your schedule of (un)successfully trying to get into Berghain, then book yourself for a meal that will blow your socks off for half the price of the tourist trap down the road. Sitting pretty at number 48 on the World’s Top 50 Restaurants is Tim Raue. You won’t find kransky, pork knuckles or sauerkraut, but you will be served up some of the finest Asian inspired creations either side of the wall.
With signature dishes such as lobster dim sum and sashimi, and peking duck served on a five spice waffle, the flavours are bold but light. A 3-course lunch will set you back a measly €48, 4 courses for €58, 5 for €68, and 6 for €78. An additional and delightfully welcome surprise is the inclusion of multiple palate cleansers and amuse-bouche throughout the meal, and everyone knows you don’t say no to gifts from the kitchen.
Katsuzen - Tokyo
There’s a lot more to fine Japanese dining than Sea Urchin and Puffer Fish. Tokyo’s Katsuzen is not the most expansive of menus and certainly not the most exotic, but a katsu must be one of the most universally like dishes out there, and these guys are doing it so well it’s earned them a Michelin star. The homemade panko breadcrumbs are of legendary status, bringing a lighter and crispier crunch to your katsu (preferably of one of their three choices of free-range pork).
Set lunch menus start as low as ¥3,800 (AUD$45) and dinner at ¥8,000 (AUD$95) inclusive of a 6 course meal plus some miso soup and rice. It’s definitely a higher price point than your typical Tonkatsu joints around the world, but that comes with the quality of a Michelin starred meal. Heads up that you’ll want to make a booking and be on time, as lil’ Katsuzen houses just one private dining room and eight seats at the bar.
Referred to us by the Michelin guide, you’ll find La Table d’Eugene out in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris, but this restaurant is at the centre of what good food means. Faced with a menu where you’ll want to order everything, sometimes the safest bet (and of course that of the highest value) is to let the kitchen make the decisions and order the set lunch menu.
Offered from Tuesday to Sunday, you’ll need to make a reservation but it won’t be too difficult to find a seat where you’ll be treated to dishes such as crispy langoustine with black sesame and wild strawberries, or braised Iberian pork shoulder and grilled ribs. The menu changes every 10 days, so when they say seasonal, they mean it. At €35 for two courses and €42 for three, you can afford to stay the f*ck away from the tourist traps of the Champs-Élysées and eat quality food in amongst the real Paris.
It is consistently voted amongst Melbourne’s favourite favourite restaurants, and there have been queues out the door rain, hail or shine since it opened a little over six years ago. Chef Ben Cooper has hit the nail on the head with every single one of the 64 dishes on the menu.
64 dishes may seem like a lot to choose from, and if you’re dining in a small party or alone, the pressure to make the right choice can seem overwhelming. Enter the ‘Feed Me’ menu, which is available for both lunch and dinner. At $69.50 per person, Cooper and his team will serve you approximately 10 of their top dishes – think kingfish sashimi, six hour braised wagyu, and caramelised stick pork. We guarantee you’ll leave with a full stomach, new flavours to analyse, and an understanding of what all the fuss is about.
Quintonil is another that cracks the World’s top 50 list, and at number 22, one could easily be mistaken for scrolling right past it in the assumption that it's out of their league. At Quintonil, you don’t need to order from a set menu for lunch, or reduce your choices for dinner. 10 courses for lunch or dinner at one of the world’s best restaurants will seem like an over-order at your local on a Thursday night.
For a full-blown degustation at one of the world’s best restaurants, you’ll only have to part with US$65 a head. Even better news is that if you’re not into the whole degustation thing, a la carte dishes start at $7. The décor is simple, the food is both comforting and explosive. Razor clams, home made mole, cactus sorbet, charred avocado tartare. It’s a new kind of Mexican that you didn’t know existed, at prices you forgot still existed. Oh, and you can match each dish with carefully sourced wines for a little over a fifty. 20 hours of flying? Worth it.