Over a delicate starter of cauliflower and broccoli with Espelette pepper mayonnaise and sprinklings of bonito, Josh Wyatt, partner at private-equity firm Patron Capital, started talking shop, discussing a multimillion pound property deal.
But it wasn’t until the pistachio macaroon petit fours had been served in the Lecture Room at Sketch, the two-Michelin starred Pierre Gangnaire restaurant in London, before he managed to seal it.
“Our world increasingly moves at a global, harried pace,” Wyatt said. “One of the few ways to slow the tenor down to a human level is over a proper, leisurely meal.”
BBC Capital looks at a selection of the best restaurants to impress clients at in six of the most expensive and most travelled to business cities in the world — from Sydney to Toronto.
Anything but sketchy in London
Enter the slightly surreal and ever so esoteric world of Mourad Mazouz’s Sketch in London and you feel part David Lynch movie part Alice in Wonderland. The elegant townhouse on Mayfair’s Conduit Street contains four restaurants, including the newest opening, the Gallery with a cool new redesign by artist David Shrigley, excellent for a quick working lunch.
For a blow-the-expenses feast, head upstairs to the Lecture Room, one of the city’s most decadently opulent rooms. Sink back into velvet chairs, and go for the menu rapide lunch. Dishes include a medley of braised, dried and jellied turnips with garden pea ice-cream, and rabbit fricassee with oregano and grilled eggplant. Open for lunch Tuesday-Friday, and for dinner, Tuesday-Saturday; three-course lunch menu, £40 ($68), served with petits fours and coffee; six course dinner tasting menu from £75 ($129) for vegetarian and £95 ($163) for meat.
Parisian soiree under the stars
An exquisite spot for a summer business soiree, Lasserre, a Parisian restaurant in the 8th arrondissement has a charming trick up its sleeve: the roof retracts, allowing diners to eat under the starry skies. Chef Christophe Moret flashes executes elegant dishes, such as such as langoustines in a tasty ginger lime stock, or a vegetarian beetroot ravioli crunch and home-made tofu, alongside a reinterpreation of duck à l’orange. Finish with pastry chef Claire Heitzler’s tasty puddings such as Breton shortbread with pistachios and citrus. Open Thursday and Friday for lunch, and Tuesday-Saturday for dinner; two-course lunch menu, 90-120 euros ($122-163); dinner tasting menu, 220 euros ($298).
Dexterity in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is a business city to its very bones. Unless you are a member of David Tang’s China Club, which still brings in the big punters to talk shop over roast duck and lethal shots of Chinese spirit Maotai, then Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons, is just as likely to impress. With spectacular views over the towering sheen of Central and the twinkling harbour, lunch at this three-Michelin-starred restaurant on dim sum made with exquisite dexterity. Signature dishes by executive chef Chan Yan Tak include sautéed lobster with vegetables in fermented bean sauce and double-boiled sea cucumber broth with Yunnan ham and brassica. Open daily for lunch and dinner; executive lunch HK$520 ($67); dinner tasting menu, HK$1,650 ($213).
Theatrical in Tokyo
Narisawa is a small two-Michelin starred restaurant in Minami Ayoyama, so it is better for more intimate working lunches or dinners. The austerity of the room (there are no paintings and interior is sleek wooden and white) is more than counterbalanced by the effervescence of the cuisine. Yoshihiro Narisawa, who opened his restaurant in 2003, fuses Japanese ingredients with French cooking methods, which he learned under Paul Bocuse and Joel Robuchon. You can expect theatricals such as Japanese squid with ash made with paprika and lemon, submerged in liquid nitrogen and blowfish (fugu) from Hagi, deep fried and served with a Japanese citrus called sudachi. The petit fours are particularly fine, including white chocolate and lavender macaroons. Wash down with a fine selection of wines or for a more abstemiousness, beautifully hued green tea. Open daily, nine-10 course lunch from 12,000 yen ($118); 10-course-dinner from 20,000 yen ($197).
Relaxed in Sydney
For a stylish expense account dinner overlooking Sydney harbour, Quay is one of the hottest spots in town.
With a choice of a four course-menu, or a tasting menu, consisting of eight courses, this is one for a more relaxed deal closer. Expertly fusing oriental flavours into local produce, kick off with Saltwater poached quail, takuan pickles, fermented shiitake, salted egg yolk, smoked parsnip, kai lan blossoms. Mains include smoke and confit pig cheek, cuttlefish, kombu, koji, shiitake and sesame. Round off with jersey cream, salted caramel, prune, milk and sugar crystals. Open Tuesday-Friday for lunch; daily for dinner; three-course lunch from A$135 ($128; four-course dinner menu for A$175 ($166) or the tasting menu for A$225,($213).
Sky high in Toronto
Canoe’s sky high setting at the top of the TD Bank tower in Bay Street is one of the city’s most popular power spots in which to dine.
Chef John Horne cut his teeth in restaurants such as L’Escargot and The Square in London, and joined the restaurant in 2010; his cuisine is defined by showcasing the best of Canadian produce, and if the negotiations are lengthy, order ahead for one of his excellent seasonally-led tasting menus. Tuck into dishes such as Northern Woods mushroom soup with balsam fir crème fraiche or Alberta lamb with preserved ratatouille, Guelph beans and sea buckthorn berries, accompanied by a crisp glass of Niagara Chardonnay. Open Monday-Friday for lunch and dinner, lunch from C$50 a head ($47); dinner from C$100 ($94) for a three-course a-la-carte meal, or a tasting menu.
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