CELEBRITY chef Tom Kerridge has been slammed for his pub's eye-watering £87 sirloin steak but he’s defended his “unpretentious" menu”.
The telly cook, 48, has left diners sizzling over a huge “mark-up”, including £26.50 for creme brûlée.
The war of words broke out over prices charged at one of Kerridge's boozers, The Hand and Flowers.
At this pub he charges £87 for a sirloin steak with vegetables like a side of cabbage costing £7.50 extra.
The lamb main is £69 and a spiced venison loin is £60.
But a smoked salmon dish priced at £42.50 is the most expensive starter and all the desserts are £26.50.
As a result, some diners are accusing Kerridge of beefing up his prices, including wine expert Guy Woodward.
Referring to the Marlow, Bucks, pub he tweeted: “Website of The Hand and Flowers by Tom Kerridge.
“‘Unpretentious’, ‘proper pub’, ‘for everyone to enjoy’ ‘relaxed and accessible’.”
But he added: “Steak and chips £87, side of cabbage, £7.50, creme brûlée: £26.50.
“And people complain about wine list mark-ups.”
Yet Kerridge hit back, explaining that food prices are high because he pays his staff a decent wage.
I pay staff properly and treat their job as a professional career.
He said: “Those prices include everything, VAT and service. No additional service charge at all.
“Also I pay staff properly and treat their job as a professional career.
“Perhaps the real cost of dining should be addressed. Unpretentious does not mean cheap."
However Woodward, editor of wine and spirits magazine Club Oenologique, bit back, adding: “Maybe, but can you then claim to be a homely pub too?
“Wine example: Chateau Siaurac, Lalande de Pomerol 2014 £84 – roughly 400 per cent mark up from retail.”
Some customers agreed that the food was overpriced.
Kevin King complained: “Come on £95 for steak chips and cabbage is taking the mick. I will pay for good food.
“But there’s a limit where it becomes offensive, one example that’s gone before, Keith Floyd, he did this, crazy prices because he was on telly, lost the lot.”
Ryan Cooper added: “I like Tom Kerridge.
“But my question is could your staff afford to eat there as he pays them so well?”
Yet others pointed out the pub does boast two Michelin stars.
Winemaker Gavin Quinney joked: “I’d charge £7.50 for a side of cabbage if I had two Michelin stars.”
Anthony Watson added: “if you think that's too much then fine, it's a free market – and you can just go to Wetherspoons instead.
“But don't expect to dine at two Michelin star level without paying what it costs.”
Angelina Adamo fumed at Woodward: “This is reason why people working in hospitality get paid a s**t wage.
“Because people like you don’t think that a well-butchered, reared steak, treated well, cooked well, handled by more than one chef should be worth this.
“I’m sure Tom Kerridge has bills, rent, wages to pay for too.”
We’re proud to be the first pub with two Michelin stars.
Kerridge then commented: “Some absolute plonkers on here.”
The pub’s website reads: “When we opened The Hand & Flowers in 2005, we wanted it to be exactly the kind of place where we would like to enjoy our days off.
“That meant a proper pub, but with proper food. A friendly, comfortable atmosphere, where everybody’s welcome.
“Bold, unpretentious cooking with brilliant, seasonal ingredients. Professional but approachable service from people who love to eat out as much as we do.
“Since opening, our approach has won us many loyal friends.
“We’re proud to be the first pub with two Michelin stars, but our food is for everyone to enjoy, and our pub is still a relaxed and accessible environment where everybody's welcome.”
Last December, Kerridge faced criticism for selling takeaway Christmas dinners for £95-a-head – that customers had to cook themselves.
Then two months later he was also blasted for doing similar ones for Valentine's Day costing £185.
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