Have you been to any of these?
In the 1987 Hollywood classic Wall Street, the main antagonist, corporate raider Gordon Gekko (played by Michael Douglas), brazenly tells an impressionable broker Bud Fox (played by Charlie Sheen), that ‘Lunch is for wimps’. Thankfully for us, those days of brace-wearing, chalk-stripe suited yuppies are over, and luckily, lunch is back on the menu for the workers as well as the players. Whether you’re a busy CEO or a young executive looking to make your name in the city, we all need to eat at that welcome juncture between the morning and the afternoon. With this very much in mind, here are my top five places to enjoy a working lunch in London.
The tapas revolution might have hit London almost a decade ago, but it shows no sign of abating. Barrafina led the way when it opened its Dean Street restaurant back in 2007. Founders Sam and Eddie Hart serve up tantalising small plates to happy diners, who keep coming back for more. Some of the highlights on the Hispanic menu includes: Octopus with Capers, Morcilla Iberica (Spanish black pudding) and Quail Eggs and a traditionally made Crema Catalana.
Often, when it comes to business lunches, time is of the essence and it can be a case of a quick 30 minutes snatched between meetings with a colleague or client. The Wellcome Kitchen offers a ‘Welcome’ new addition to the casual dining scene, offering a mouth-watering array of sandwiches and salads which are certain to tantalise the tastebuds. Those who have time for a more leisurely stay in the restaurant can enjoy such delicacies as Roasted cod, chickpeas in tomato sauce, grilled radicchio & anchovy dressing or a velvety Wild mushroom risotto, Grana Padano shavings & truffle oil. A particular highlight of the restaurant, which sits within the unique Wellcome Collection, is a Pill Dress by Susie Freeman, a striking focal point, referencing the work of the museum.
One of the hottest seats in town, this self-confessed ‘modern all-day brasserie’ is definitely a place to be seen. The restaurant offers a tantalising menu of firm favourites in the modern-European tradition with a dash of Americana. Expect classics such as Smoked Haddock Kedgeree, Herb-Crusted Lamb and Beef Wellington alongside more esoteric offerings as Lobster Lasagne, Chorizo Hash and Duck Cassoulet for two.
An off-shoot of the legendary celebrity haunt, this stylish and sophisticated restaurant sits on The King’s Road and is a firm favourite with the bright young things. The extensive, bistro-style menu has been created by executive chef, Sean Burbidge and offers a pleasing mix of comfort food and international dishes. As well as firm favourites such as Shepherd’s Pie, Lobster Thermidor and Steak Tartare, lunchtime diners can also enjoy more exotic dishes including, Blackened Cod Fillet, Truffle Chicken Sandwich and a decadent Chocolate Bombe. Those in need of something to ‘whet’ the appetite will also be pleased to find a small selection of expertly crafted cocktails and mocktails; pre-prandial refreshers to quench any thirst.
This no-frills Italian trattoria is a firm favourite for the workers and residents of Marylebone. Located just North of Oxford Street, Caffe Caldesi’s informality and immediate familiarity is what brings diners back again and again, whether it’s for a light-bite of antipasti, Calamari in Casserole being a favourite of mine, or a big plate of homemade pasta. Expect big portions, a warm welcome and a full stomach at the end of the meal!
Next ‘on the menu’ will be my top five cocktail joints. Have you got a favourite? Let me know and I’ll be sure to take a look! If you have a recommendation please email me on: [email protected].