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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
5 Nov 2009

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.