By Gaby Huddart
Restaurant dining isn't cheap these days. Indeed, getting change out of £40 for drinks and dinner is a pretty mean challenge in the noughties. So, this week's widely reported story that many of the nation's best eateries are insisting on credit card numbers at the time of booking and, unless given plenty of notice of cancellation, charge a hefty fee for a no-show seems outrageous. A downright rip-off, in fact.
The three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray charges £80 per person for cancellations with less than two days' notice. At the two-Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, in London, the charge is £60 per head for no-shows, with Le Pont de la Tour, The Square and Bentley's among the capital's other restaurants to be named and shamed. Surely they should be red-faced about such hard-to-swallow policies?