Our economy is being crunched by a credit conundrum, and the pennies in your pocket are being squeezed to within an inch of their copper lives - a loaf of bread now costs approximately £1,600 plus VAT, and financial planners are offering guidance on weighty investment decisions, like whether to purchase one- or two-ply toilet paper. Things are tight.
So are the good times over? Not if you're a City banker. Despite melodramatic predictions of a Square Mile massacre, the new economic realities have yet to dawn: in 2008, so far £13.2bn has been awarded in bonuses - a notch down from the £13.3bn doled out at this stage last year, but still a fair slice of cash.
But what should all those bulging nifties in the back pocket be splurged on? Perhaps a spot of haute cuisine. Chef Francesco Mazzei (responsible for St Alban on Regents Street) is bucking the economic stormclouds by opening a new, lavish restaurant on the fringes of the financial district. L'Anima, on Snowden Street in Hoxton, is banking on enticing the hordes of Liverpool Street-bound commuters to take a quick detour and deposit some of their earnings on such delicacies as hand-carved San Daniele ham and fish stew with Sardinian fregola. Mazzei, a southern Italian, is using the dishes of his native land as the central palette, but aims to introduce elements of other Mediterranean cuisine as he sees fit.
We wish Mazzei all the best, and salute his chutzpah in biting his thumb at the economic maelstrom. Sadly Londonist's bonus was less than expected this year, and we'll be favouring brunch at the local fried chicken shop rather than amidst the "luxurious minimalism" L'Amina offers, but we suspect that this place just might find a following among the rich and powerful.