Those were the days. The days when business and diplomacy occurred over a long lunch: a choreographed conversational pas-de-deux—or trois or more—against a backdrop of wood panelling and oil portraits and set to the music of clinking glasses and convivial chatter. From Pall Mall to the Granita pact, this is how things got done. So the Hawksmoor restaurants and Hepple Gin have really hit on something with their Three Martini Lunch, which aims to resurrect the epic meaty midday meal with a trio of fine sharpeners as cheerleaders. The Walter Riddell (named for the man on whose estate botanicals for Hepple are foraged—it’s Hepple Gin, Cocchi Americano, Jurançon and lavender), the Smoky Valentine (that’s Hepple founder Valentine Warner—Hepple, Lapsang Port, Noilly Prat and rosemary) and the Strangeways (because by this stage you’ll surely have developed a sense of humour: Hepple, Antica Formula, prune and cacao) can each be purchased singly if you prefer. In which case, frankly, true epic-ness cannot be guaranteed.
The three martinis, available at all branches of Hawksmoor till April 30 and costing £25, will discreetly appear on your bill, whether you’ve eaten à la carte or Express, as “Supplement £25”. Here’s, hopefully, to a slew of new special relationships. “Reaching out” by email just isn’t the same. —Anna Blomefield