MICHELIN star-rated restaurants are ruining perfectly good iPads by serving their pricey grub on the tablets as part of the latest tech fad.

The posh slate-plates include a dish called "A dog in search of gold" by San Francisco hotspot Quince laid on a £619 iPad Pro that plays videos of canines on a truffle-hunt.

According to 9to5Mac, the dish is aimed at a younger audience.

Meanwhile, three-star Michelin rated restaurant Arzak – which has branches in the UK and San Sebastien – serves seabass and lobster with an "iPad accompaniment".

Seeing as tablets and smartphone screens are known to be germ magnets that can cause food poisoning, with one report claiming the displays have more bacteria than toilet seats, the trend has unsurprisingly raised sanitation concerns.

But Quince owner Michael Tusk shrugged off the controversy by breaking down how his quirky establishment protects the iPad plates.

“The iPad and the custom walnut box it rests in combine a little bit of gastronomy, technology, education and whimsy,” Tusk wrote.

“As to the construction and design of the box we commissioned local wood worker and friend Luke Bartels to create a housing for the iPad — a simple frame with a plexi glass cover that protects the screen. The food does not directly sit on top of the iPad. The removable plexi sheath is washed and sanitized after every use in keeping with all other plate ware.”

Still, you know something smells off when the plates you're using cost more than the ludicrously expensive food you're selling.

And slates were never intended to be used as dining ware anyway – at this rate people will be eating sushi off iPhones.

Guess what? They already are.

In 2010, TechCrunch profiled Japanese Apple geek Shiinaneko, who sticks his food on the pricey gadget while its screen displays a pic of a plate or wooden board to give it the real feel.

He's either a trendsetter or a complete moron depending on who you ask.

With the fad spreading, the situation has got so silly that it's now being spoofed on TV shows and subreddits.

In episode three of NBC sitcom Champions, the main character winds up at a posh restaurant where waiters carry food on iPads, notes Mashable.

"This place is even fancier than I thought!" exclaims protagonist Michael Patel in disbelief. "The plates are iPads!"

And the r/WeWantPlates subreddit (home to 342,000 subscribers), which "crusades against serving food on bits of wood and roof tiles, chips in mugs and drinks in jam jars", is littered with pics of food served on Apple's tablets.

The most popular iPad plate post on the forum is of three varieties of foie gras served on a pricey slate at Switzerland's Schloss Schauenstein, which also boasts three Michelin stars.

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Unfortunately, none of these barmy restaurants let you take the tablet home after you finish your meal.