Those days are gone my friend. The grinding reality is a mouth-cloying Boots meal deal eaten with one hand while the other furiously types. Just one fifth of the UK take an hour for lunch - most of us having just 29 minutes respite.
With this in mind, here we give you the low down the top 5 places to get lunch if you work in central London, specifically Soho - to take away, have a fast repast or perhaps you'll be lucky enough to make it a long one, just like the good old days.
Clockjack Oven specialises free range chicken (pictured above), cooked on a rotisserie. Succulent, with golden skin, this a piece of prime poultry.
Need to take away? The crew will happily send you on your way with a box full of rotisserie chicken, salad (including watermelon and feta) with bread. You can pre-order online or get it delivered straight to the office.
Got to eat and run? If you have some time to eat in, my sources tell me that the chicken is at its absolute best at midday - so grab a seat and take at least half an hour away from your desk.
Want to make it a long lunch? There's a beer menu divided into the compass points of London - crack open a Camden Hells lager from the north.
This classy import from Milan serves delicious pizza, pasta, salads and breads in a bustling and light dining room with communal benches and a wood fired oven.
Need to take away? Run back to your cubicle a hot slice of Valerio, a white pizza with ham and cream or have delivered to your office.
Got to eat and run? Princi's long communal tables mean that if you are lucky you can elbow your way in with your lunch and people watch with a wild mushroom linguine.
Want to make it a long lunch? Mine's a glass of cool, crisp Prosecco, bellissima!
Berliners know that bratwurst slathered with curry-flavoured ketchup may not sound like a delight, but the city's beer sponge of choice is a major dirty treat - now available for us Londoners. Herman Ze German's wurst are some the best in town.
Need to take away? A grilled pork and veal bratwurst is the ideal shape for eating while schlepping down Old Compton Street.
Got to eat and run? This Soho branch also serves very juicy schnitzel and their magical fries (unbelievably not fried but still crisp) in the log cabin style dining room.
Want to make it a long lunch? There's authentic German wheat beer on tap - needed if you order the “Burner" curry sauce - hotter than the core of the sun.
This huge Belle Epoque style brasserie makes you feel like Sartre on his lunch break - but don't be fooled by the Martini Bar and opulent interior - Zedel is great for Soho lunches. It comes from the masters of the business lunch venue - the team that bought us The Wolseley - and Zedel has all the taste with a more casual outlook.
Need to take away? The ground floor cafe has authentically simple baguettes prepared on the bar, the jambon beurre makes you feel like you're in Paris.
Got to eat and run? The menu Prix Fixe, 2 courses at just £8.75 is the ideal for a rapid, cheap eat treat on a Friday afternoon.
Want to make it a long lunch? The menu is extensive and surprisingly good value. Anyone who wants to avoid the boss can hide in the huge basement dining room and enjoy a bottle of Beaujolais to accompany a plate of pink steak.
The product of years of loving research in Italy, Pizza Pilgrims rooted themselves in a permanent Dean Street home to bring proper Neapolitan bases to the London masses after spreading the word in their special pizza van. Carefully sourced ingredients like fior de latte and a traditional oven all make this a proper treat.
Need to take away? Place your order either online, on the phone or in person. The searing hot oven cooks everything quickly, and they are not afraid of big office orders. The van still travels round London – check Twitter to see if it's near you.
Got to eat and run? There are some seats upstairs specifically reserved for quick diners, so you can bolt down your Margherita with Nduja (spicy, Calabrian pork sausage) and still be back at your desk before anyone notices you've gone.
Want to make it a long lunch? Start your meal with an Aperol Spritz, made in the traditional Venetian manner and finish it with Nutella & salted ricotta
pizza ring – sounds odd – tastes divine.
Do you ever have time to take an hour's break? Share your favourite lunchtime spots in London in the comments field below.
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