Taking your midday meal 'al desko' is mediocre, common, and downright wretched. Get out of the office at lunchtime – boosting your productivity, wellbeing and creative juices. Here are our favourite London lunch destinations, chosen both for quality and speed of service.
Spring, Somerset House, The Strand
Super-chef Skye Gregnell's 21st century take on English elegance is a gulp of fresh air, in the heart of Holborn's business district. Grab some awareness – Skye's 'Scratch Menu' focused on food waste, and Spring is gradually phasing out plastic – and enjoy a seasonal set menu that's inordinately tasty, but light enough to still send you back to the office on top form.
Two courses: £27.50, three courses: £31.50
This is The Shard's new restaurant from nouveau-Japanese trailblazer Rainer Becker (Zuma, Roka) where the savvy German presents a contemporary take on western comfort food; long-term admirers will be pleased to know there's still a dash of his trademark ponzu sauce in some dishes. A great lunching tip is that all wines are available by the glass, even the top-end ones. Critics single out the slick service as a highlight.
Elevator Lunch - Starter, main, a side and water for £40.
Now a Mayfair institution, this uber-Indian restaurant boasts a buzzy atmosphere and storybook colonial-style interiors. Make out like you're in a Rudyard Kipling yarn, while tucking in to the £20 business lunch – yes, you read that right – and soaking up a bit of 'Global Britain' at its finest.
Three courses and lassi for £20.
Isabel, Albemarle Street
Arguably London's most fashionable restaurant right now, boasting impeccable design values and a backstory laced with exclusivity, Isabel is the ideal place to impress a client or colleague. The 'Express' lunch menu is equally on-brand (and on-trend), with high-protein, low-carb dishes for the international fast set.
Express Menu £28 for two courses, £35 with a glass of wine.
Sailing forth as a team or warbling your siren song for potential clients? London's most talked-about restaurant is where you should weigh anchor. After all, it's one of Quintessentially members' top three most requested restaurant reservations. The 'Kiukku' menu features four dishes for £36, and is available from 12-5pm in case you decide not to go back to the office after all.
Quintessentially members have access to this bolthole in Soho that has long pitched itself as 'the members' club for foodies'. It's casual enough just to drop in, and not being able to see everyone else rushing back to work really helps, if you're no longer planning to.
Traditional pie and mash £17.50
The British countryside is very cool right now – proof if it were needed comes in the shape of this descendant of two Michelin-starred Lake District smash L'Enclume. (London gourmets will tell you about the two-year pop-up of the same name that preceded Roganic). Carnivores shouldn't be put off by the branding; when we went, the set menu featured 21-day-aged Cumbrian pork. Plus a smoked juniper fudge that would have Wordsworth waxing lyrical.
Business lunch menu £35
Please contact your Lifestyle Manager for full details on access to these and more excellent eating venues.