That $47,221.09 restaurant bill

5 Nov 2009 by Jancis Robinson

On members' forum we are currently having a long and spirited discussion about how romansbillsommeliers should treat their customers.

Presumably the sommelier at Nello's in New York treated Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich (pictured, in front of his football team Chelsea FC's logo) and his five guests pretty well last Friday when they managed to rack up this bill for over $47,000 at a single modest lunch.

Well the dishes were pretty modest, even if, in what is reputed to be typical Russian fashion, it is difficult to discern any structure to the meal. Presumably the truffle carpaccio and minestrone were not served with the tiramisu, but it does rather look as though someone ended their meal with minestrone.

Of course it was the five bottles of wine, La Tâche and Pétrus, and the magnum of Cristal Rosé, that were really responsible for bumping up the bill. I wonder when they drank the five glasses of 40-year-old tawny port?

At least they managed one large bottle of water.

And I wonder how much money the waiter made from selling copies of this duplicate bill?

I have heard that when a similar blowout at Le Gavroche in London was reported in the media, it worked unimaginable wonders for that restaurant's business. Possibly even more than the fact that its chef Michel Roux Jr now stars in the popular BBC show Masterchef.


I would have thought that this was the most blatant example yet of betrayal by your shopkeeper - not only publicising a questionable bill but actually seeking out a hack to quote you about it! 

6 Nov 2009 11:03 by Studley Palling

Am i the only person thinking that the content of one's bill should is a confidential matter between a diner and a restaurant? Regardless of the guest's taste or reputation, a restaurant should never ever publish that sort of information.

6 Nov 2009 08:49 by Thomas De Waen

IN SF most of the restaurants that are proud of their wine lists post them on their web page. So I googled "Nello's NYC"  and did not have any luck. But I did find a lot of  comments that would qualify as libel in the UK.

5 Nov 2009 21:49 by Mel Knox

Should have added that the other dodgy thing is that according to eyewitnesses his girlfriend didn't drink plus another guest was a teenager - and Roman himself just had a couple of glasses. That means four people consumed nine bottles of wine for lunch in 90 minutes, along with port and whiskey. This Netto guy is a publicity junkie - he claimed that  another oligarch graced his restaurant in October and again he brandished a bill with a $5000 bottle of vintageless Petrus. The NYT Blog denounces him and the NY Post rang a story last week saying he has been sued by two of his produce suppliers.....

5 Nov 2009 21:08 by Studley Palling

I suspect that this is a bogus duplicate bill - it's suspicious that  not one vintage is mentioned for any of the wines. Also smell a rat because all the wines appear to cost $5000 each.....Should have gone to Grammercy Tavern where they had La Tache 02 for a mere $700 - the nicest form of infanticide....

5 Nov 2009 20:23 by Studley Palling

 Ah, the dying days of the Roman empire.

5 Nov 2009 19:15 by Patience Waddilove

For $47 K they could have  brought in a calligrapher to write the invoice on parchment. The computer does not tell which vintage Petrus..don't they  have more than one??  Ditto La tache...

5 Nov 2009 19:04 by Mel Knox

I think the most interesting part is the 20% service charge!!! Over $7000 just to serve some food and pour some plonk..... 

5 Nov 2009 17:33 by Andrew Cullimore

I don't know which part catches my eye  more. It seems that no matter what wine you order they charge $5000...avoid the half bottles here.   $18 for soup..and they say Arpege is expensive. Espressio seems reasonable.   Nothing like fried calamari and Cristal rose...   All that red wine and nobdoy ordered beef or lamb??

5 Nov 2009 16:47 by Mel Knox

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