BILL OF THE WEEK

ACCOUNTANTS have a reputation for being somewhat straight-laced, but this tale suggests it isn't entirely deserved. When two employees turned up for their first day at one of the City’s biggest accountancy firms, their new colleagues put them through an initiation ceremony that had more in common with the ways of an American university fraternity than bean-counting traditions.

They weren't marched through the streets of the Square Mile in a state of undress or made to drink so much they were physically sick, but this was a process of ritual humiliation that some would find just as painful. The challenge? To eat a kilo of steak at the Chancery Lane outpost of Gaucho. For the imperially-minded, that's 2.2lbs or 35 ounces. Whatever way you look at it, it’s an awful lot of beef.

Their colleagues splashed out £100-a-piece for the two cuts of Bife de Lomo, essentially Argentina's version of filet mignon, but went for much smaller cuts themselves. Perhaps fearful they were giving the newbies an easy ride, they insisted that the recruits have a sausage platter each to start, which came with a selection of six large Argentinian bangers, including chorizo, morcilla, pinchos and romero pepper. Again, the longer-serving Deloitte staffers opted for something a little lighter: Fishcakes and King Scallops.

The side-splitting endurance test didn't stop there. Apparently, the rules of this initiation ceremony state that the contestants must also have a side dish each; share a cheese plate after; and then finish the meal with a dessert (in this case Mocha Tart or Passionfruit Tocino). All their plates had to be clean.

Maybe the fact that the four diners started with cocktails and a round of Rocio Gold beers helped whet their appetite, although we don't know how they found room for the three bottles of wine, including a £230 Malbec and an £80 Chardonnay.

Before rolling back to work, the success of the new conscripts was toasted with four large cognacs at £27.50 each, bringing the bill to £1,159 (including a £130 tip). We're not sure whether the men (at least we hope they're men) managed to work an entire afternoon after that, but we just hope they weren't found asleep at their desks.