The Long Lunch Guide: Where To Go When No One Intends On Going Back To Work

These are the restaurants you should be considering when you want your lunch to go on and on.
Rémy Martin

photo credit: Giulia Verdinelli

There’s a kind of lunch where one hour becomes two, and it’s another 30 minutes before desserts are even being ordered. It’ll basically be rush hour soon. There’s really no point going back to work. This, friends, is the sack-off lunch.

Sometimes it’s an office birthday. Other times it’s an anniversary. Maybe it’s a Friday. Occasionally, it’s just because. But the point is not that it happens. The point is that this can be gently, expertly, engineered with the right restaurant suggestion. The type that enables whoever’s in charge to think: sod it. These are the restaurants you should be going to when you want lunch to run long.


photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch



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The move with Crisp Pizza W6 is to over-order. The popular pizza pop-up inside Hammersmith pub, The Chancellors, serves some of the best pizzas in London. A Friday lunch requires organisation (pre-ordering via their Instagram), agility (jumping on the big bench outside whenever it frees up), and a reason to stay even longer (Nutella calzone). On a sunny afternoon, you could easily spend three hours picking at pizzas and sipping on freshly poured pints. Just don’t forget to pre-order.  

photo credit: Rob Greig



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Nothing, absolutely nothing, says ‘none of us have any intention of going back to the office’ like a pre-planned, week in advance, whole suckling pig from British restaurant St. John, does it? Trust us, we’re speaking from experience. This is not a meal that fuels an afternoon of productivity. If you’re not up for a whole pig though, there are still plenty of other options at this Clerkenwell spot that will guarantee a very long and very lazy lunch.

photo credit: Aleksandra Boruch

It’s impossible for a lunch at Ikoyi to last less than two hours. Which is what makes it perfect for the kind of table-to-sofa meal you’re after. A 2.5-hour, fine dining tasting menu at this West African-inspired spot on the Strand ages like the fine wines on their list. Expect things like the chicken and mushroom broth with a brilliant, intensely floral squeeze of peppercorn oil, and the signature smoked jollof rice covered in a luscious umami blanket of lobster custard. There's really no choice but to cancel that 3pm meeting.

Soho is London’s undisputed, heavyweight champion of the knockout lunch. L’Escargot—its oldest French restaurant—is one of the best places to do it. While dinner feels formal, it makes for a classy but still casual lunch that encourages you to get comfortable. If your idea of casual is ordering 12 snails alongside a bottle of cabernet sauvignon. And following that with some chateaubriand or confit duck should finish the job.

Brigadiers, an Indian BBQ playhouse in the City, pretty much guarantees that the majority of the team will be merry from the cocktails on tap and a four-pint growler of beer before the bone marrow biriyani (a must-order) even turns up. A lot of the food—that trough of rice included—is very hard to say no to. And that’s exactly how your manager will feel when someone suggests it’s not really worth heading back to the office.

One Lunch to rule them all, One Lunch to bind them, One Lunch to bring them all, and in the daytime undermine them. This is what your colleagues may or may not chant at you after you book Noble Rot. This wine bar and modern European restaurant in Bloomsbury has the power to ensnare anyone. The wine bar up front is perfect for both pre and post meal drinks, and the dining room itself is like a public members’ club that serves the best bread in London (alongside other excellent plates). Yes, you are the Lord of the Lunches.

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There are some menus that you read and just think: phwoar. They’re the kind that make you feel a bit bleary-eyed. You’ll read ‘stilton mousse’ and then ‘creamed fish pie’ and realise that you’re set for a lunch to end all lunches. That’s why British spot Maggie Jones’s in Kensington is such a great choice for the kind of good food and good wine that leads your superior to make a bad decision.

Nothing compels a human being like that little three letter word, posed as a question. You know the one we’re talking about. The one that gets your heart racing. The one that can make you feel a bit funny. The one that anyone will cancel and rearrange a day around. So next time someone asks that simple one word question, “Pub?”—go to The Drapers Arms in Islington. It’s one of London’s finest locations for whiling away an afternoon. The food is hearty, the drinks menu extensive, and there's a sofa available.

In our office, we’ve started to use ‘getting a bit Circoloed’ as shorthand for ‘getting accidentally, but monumentally, pissed’. So it makes sense that this is the kind of restaurant where one hour becomes three, and three hours becomes an afternoon off and the worst hangover this side of your 20th birthday. This huge, somewhat ridiculous trattoria in Fitzrovia has huge white stone booths for big groups, a sundae that comes tarted-up with its own miniature light show, and the walls are decorated with thousands of entirely foreboding bottles of liquor.

A lunch-only restaurant in the City that serves booze out of pewter tankards says two things to us: signet rings and nap-time. Sweetings has been doing this for over a century. It’s a seafood restaurant from a different era. When prawn cocktails were a delicacy, when a pint of Guinness and champagne got the juices flowing, and when lunches were long, drawn-out precursors to dinner.

We’re generally fans of natural light. But in this extremely tactical situation, natural light is not your friend. Natural light is a tell. Natural light could lead to the realisation it’s Tuesday, not Saturday, and there are things to do and people to see. So that’s why you go to Bocca Di Lupo. It’s one of London’s stalwart Italian restaurants, and, importantly, it’s not a big fan of natural light. It’s one of the many non-pasta-related reasons why this place became a Soho classic in no time.

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