To be honest I’ve never really been a huge cheerleader for lunch. During the standard 9-5 it’s a welcome punctuation of the half way mark of the day, but if I don’t have that particular time construct that demands food breaks, I tend to ignore the humble midway meal. When it comes to dining out I would always choose a dinner. Lunch lacks the casual heartiness of breakfast, interrupts the flow of the day and is missing the sparkle of the evening. It feels more sumptuous being wrapped in a cloak of night and sipping cocktails in the moonlight.
Something happened recently though – I matured. Although there’s a high fluidity to that fact, apparently numbers don’t lie and suspicions arose around my claim that I’m still 26 (for 3 years now). Unsurprisingly, not many things changed; my bed time got earlier, I invested in health insurance and rapidly developed a collection of candles and tea. But the biggest change? My appreciation of a long lunch crystallised. A long lunch was all but a whispered event fable to me, until one day, I found myself wearing heels, during the day and sitting down to an exquisite meal, at lunch time. After 4 glasses of Rose at a time that was only just past the socially acceptable time to start drinking (unless festival prepping) it’s no wonder that I fell steadily in love with this sophisticated creature of maturity; the long lunch.
Here’s what I’ve learnt so far about how to navigate the long lunch artfully and elegantly;
Yes, having a glass of champagne while getting ready for a long lunch is fair. Quite frankly, it takes the edge off the ‘morning’. I know its not dark but if you’ve been running your morning errands on a Saturday and are suddenly jolted into the weekend headspace of a leisurely lunch you may need a glass of bubbles to subtly assist in a smooth transition
BOOK ahead. Long lunch is A THING, particularly in Sydney. Take my word for it! You can’t just pop into a restaurant at 1.30 and expect a table of 7 to be rolled out on red carpet for you
Don’t forget to eat. Yes it’s a novelty getting boozy before 3pm but if you woke up, went straight to the gym, ate a boiled egg then began drinking you’ll be on the floor before you can say MIMOSA.
Long lunch is a longggggggggggg game. Pick your beverages and side dishes accordingly, and in a well timed fashion
If you’re going somewhere exey for lunch taking advantage of the set menu isn’t a bad idea. Usually it’s reasonably priced (for gold plated lettuce), the menu reflects a seasonal range of the restaurants best anddddddd the best bit, you don’t have to make any decisions.
Do engage the help of the sommelier or cocktail specialists to suggest wines/cocktails to match your food – it gives a completely new dimension to the experience, whether you’re there for the nosh or the drop.. Or the drip.
Leave before you get super messy, because in daylight you can actually see the drinks you’ve spilt on yourself!
If you have any inkling AT ALL that you may be going out after the long lunch, think ahead and pick a nearby bar so as not to lose troops along the way.
Dressing for a long lunch is a pretty complex affair because it can be as casual or dressy as the venue and/or occasion demands. Generally speaking smart casual applies but we all know that is the most annoying dresscode in the world because, ambiguity. Long lunch is the right time to pull out all your earthy tones and spring florals. Jumpuits and summer dresses fit the leisure code nicely as do chinos, and crisp white shirts. The secret is that you’re pretty much dressing for dinner but with less black eyeliner and stiffness. And for once, sunglasses are okay. Just leave the mirrored John Lennon frames and speed dealer specs at home please. You may also want to consider an outfit that’s flexible between afternoon and evening, in the case that your lunch turns into dancing.