If you have to stop for sustenance, why not do it in style? Choose an early sitting for extra breathing space, snappier service and much more select company.
Noon? “Who on earth eats lunch at noon?” I thought as I traipsed westward on that balmy summer’s day. Well, apart from Piers and myself, it turned out Charlie flippin’ Watts, that’s who – the man, lest we forget, who half a lifetime ago, described drumming in The Rolling Stones as “five years work and 20 years of waiting around”.
Except he wasn’t – waiting around that is. He was halfway through his minestrone as I arrived (courteously early) and was gone soon after in a raffish blur of full bespoke and rolled-up Evening Standard.
Now, sitting down at 11.30am might seem a little extreme (and possibly the province of someone who wishes to evade detection by fans), but noon seems a good time to get on with the one necessary interruption in an otherwise productive working day.
Go early, my friend, and the dining room will be yours, the staff attentive and the servings swift. Arrive at the all-comers convening hour of 1pm and you’ll take your turn checking in with the maître d’, jockey for your table and wait at least 15 minutes for the water sommelier to notice your dry-mouthed cries for help.
Arrive at noon, and you’ll also be leaving just as the real shower arrives, the culinary tyre-kickers and self-styled bon viveurs intent on extending their “working lunches” into the early evening. Brrrr.