We're bringing back the long lunch.
The Fringe Benefits Tax may have halted this licentious (but lets face it, incredible) institution back in the '80s, but alcohol-adoring advertising executives, and their never-ending Friday 'work lunches', needn't have stopped the rest of us from enjoying a three-hour lunch over a bottle of wine, on occasion.
The long lunch of the Twenty-Tens is less about abusing your employer and the generosity of the government, and more about enjoying your food, slowly.
Here are my picks for spots to linger long after the lunch rush has subsided.
Pearl Café | For a chic Friday lunch date
Pearl may have found fame via its gorgeous breakfasts, but we dare say its continued success is more thanks to the beauty of its lunch menu. The exposed brick, heritage-listed interior, antique French light fittings, and air of Parisian nonchalance, only adds to Pearl's midday appeal.
The classic bistro menu celebrates the humble burger (wagyu beef with blue cheese, if you don't mind), a few effortlessly-rich pasta dishes, and a collection of hearty, seasonal dishes driven by simplicity. The tight wine list only helps to prolong the lunching love.
Kettle and Tin | For a dalliance with Mary
Kettle and Tin has two key ingredients that are so sadly lacking in most Brisbane lunch venues; natural light and Bloody Marys. Yes, Bloody Marys plural. There are multiple Marys; some with chili, some with sake, and others with capers, all entirely necessary.
Kettle has a lightness about it that inspires languid lunchtimes, helped by sprawling views across the rollicking Queenslanders and flowering jacarandas (season pending) of Red Hill. The menu is hearty and wholesome, with meals designed for sharing or, ahem, enjoying on your own. Expect everything from homemade terrine to corned beef sandwiches and risotto and, irrespective of what you decide on, (Bloody Marys are definitely a meal in case you are wondering) be sure to invest in a side of chips. Don't roll your eyes, the Kettle and Tin fried potato offering is truly worthy of a mention.
Spring | For soulful corporates
The CBD is, by its very nature, the natural choice for long lunches. The corporate-lunch-loving baby boomers that once abused the privilege are still kicking around; slinking in the shadows, and awaiting any opportunity for weekday indulgence.
If you linger long enough around Spring, you may just catch one in the wild, feasting on sumptuous local produce and guzzling a glass of pinot or two. The provincial French feel of Spring warms the heart and soothes work-weary souls. Its soft interior seems to quell work-related guilt and minimise any impending debauchery. A lunch venue beloved by corporates and weekday dreamers alike.
Egg Bistro | For a full belly and a lovely courtyard
Lovely décor and a sweet back courtyard were enough to entice us to crack this little Egg for lunch, but now that we have learned it is also BYO, well, Egg, we think this might be love.
Egg Bistro is yet another pretty, little French bistro-style eatery, huddled off traffic-strewn Stanly Street, with the atmosphere of a cobbled laneway on La Rive Gauche.
There appears to be a theme emerging when it comes to long lunching, Egg's focus is yet again on simple, wholesome, unpretentious food. But what more could you ask for while basking in the glory of a light-dappled, hidden, inner-city courtyard?
Montrachet | For those wanting to impress
Montrachet is so immeasurably chic that it doesn't even need to open on weekends. Elitist? Maybe. But it does allow you a perfectly respectable reason to indulge mid-week (and mid-day).
Renowned as Brisbane's primordial French dining institution, Montrachet is an exercise in utter decadence. With a classic French low-lit dining room, impeccable service, a lust-worthy list of les fromages and a menu of timeless French cuisine, Montrachet is less a mid-week-lunch-on-the-run experience, and more the creation of a lifelong memory. It is truly the epitome of the classic long lunch - even Don Draper would be enamoured.
A glass of vintage Moët, and the bouillabaisse is a must.
Jellyfish | For… Well, why not?
You can't go past a room with a view when it comes to long lunching, and as far as views are concerned, Jellyfish has undeniably scored the best room in the house.
One of Brisbane's classic luncheon venues, renowned for its impeccably fresh seafood and expansive views of the river and Story Bridge, Jellyfish is a necessary fixture on any long-lunch list. The aforementioned baby-boomer-corporates still trying to relive the glory days will feel very much at home here.
Equally, if you find yourself in the CBD with a friend from out of town and four hours to kill around noon, stumble down to Jellyfish and treat yourselves to a quintessentially Brisbane experience. Keep in mind that it would be an utter travesty to leave without at least a dozen oysters in your belly.
If all else fails...
Gather your favourite people, ample cheese, cold meats, bread and vats of pasta, drag a table into the garden and cover it with flowers, stock the fridge with bubbles and riesling, buy a mixed dozen of reds, start at midday and strap yourself in.
Image credit: Montrachet