It's an institution, a luxury, and just about as good as eating out can get. It represents drinking at noon if not before and not needing to go back to work - or just plain not caring...
Miss Pearls' prescription for the perfect long lunch
Nobody knows luxury lunching like Miss Pearls. She’s the eccentric glamour puss behind Madame Brussels, the rooftop bar that’s part country club and all martini, and the lady who once stayed at Vue de Monde till 2am – “I wasn’t leaving till I’d finished.” We asked her to give us the lowdown on doing the long lunch right.
“A long lunch really starts the night before. You need to set your body up and that means a healthy dinner and an early night with a book. In the morning, you will need a poached egg on toast, a Berocca, a couple of painkillers and plenty of water.”
“Set aside two hours to get ready. You have to be maintained all day. Comb the locks, make them perfect. Outfits need to be transitional into the evening, but you can’t be too dressy, because it’s lunch, for heaven’s sake. You want a good pant, a beautiful blazer and a mid heel – not a flat, not a tall. Make sure you pack your proper sunglasses. Sunglasses are essential. Polish them. You must have a proper handbag.”
“You’ll start off with an aperitivo like an Aperol spritz or Champagne and some oysters. That takes an hour. So then it’s two o’clock when you sit, and I think that’s a really nice time to have lunch. For entrées? You want lots of little bits, but not all at once. Some olives and meats for instance. You’re grazing. And then right before the kitchen closes you order a main each and lots of beautiful salads and wine. Gorgeous. Then you have a break. You need to walk around. If you smoke, take a smoke. It’s like half-time oranges at the football.
“And then there’s the cheese course – just a little nibble, and by five o’clock you’ll take desserts. Have a little espresso to keep you going and a Montenegro digestif – you’ve been eating for many hours. Perhaps you’ll have a dumpling for supper, or go home and have a ham and cheese toasted sandwich – which I prefer. The make-up is rather sliding off the face by nine.”
“You need to feel really cosy. So even if the world is raging outside, your cheeks are warm, and you just feel comfortable and safe and secure. That’s exactly what you want: a place where time seems to stands still.”
Time Out's top long lunch spots
Café Di Stasio
Cutler and Co
Chris's Beacon Point Restaurant