The Return Of The Very Long Lunch

Words by
Jemima Sissons

1st December 2021

After closing in 2020, legendary London restaurant Langan's is back under new ownership - yet the exuberant spirit of its founder lives on. 

If Langan’s is anything to go by, the era of the Very Long Lunch is back. We arrive at this rebooted Mayfair hotspot on a frosty Thursday afternoon for a late sitting, a working lunch (of course), and gaze at our fellow diners, who have all finished what looks like a very good spread. Coffee cups are strewn over the table, napkins screwed up with abandon, chit chat soaring towards postprandial levels of 'levity'. We settle in, order our starters – an overflowing fruit de mer platter filled with juicy prawns and plump lobster tails – expecting the tables to be vacated for the next sitting. Nothing happens.

Frothy rounds of Espresso Martinis keep coming - they are back with a vengeance apparently- as property deals are cut and Christmas bargains discussed. Dusk approaches and our delicious dressed crab on toast and leek mimosa with hazelnuts is brought to us along with a crisp glass of their house Chablis. But still the patrons stay firmly seated, tables now merging with their neighbours to share dirty Martinis and make plans for the rest of the afternoon to bar crawl around backstreet Mayfair.

The lights drop, the last of our wine is drunk and we depart for the evening. And barely a table has moved since we got there, other than to make merry with their new friends. It may be a very different restaurant in style from its original incarnation  – and the food is just what you need in a bustling brasserie: reliable – but what’s clear is that the spirit of its founder, bon viveur Peter Langan, lives on. With its sequined clientele (and that’s just the men), rip roaring conviviality, faultless service and invite-only members club upstairs, this might just be London’s jolliest new spot.