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The best spots for every kind of business lunch

12 Jun 2019

A business lunch (drinks included) is arguably one of the greatest perks of the job. For those working in the CBD, there are a range of venues that fit the bill – even better, here are five that all fall under the one roof. Ranging from the classy to the casual, here’s where to wine and dine when an offsite work meet comes calling.


When… a power lunch is on the cards

Esquire, the QVB’s newest venue, lends a moody, sleek, New York supper club vibe to Level 2 of this iconic heritage building. When pivotal decisions need reaching and impressions intend to be made, this is your go-to.

Head chef Damien Worthington (formerly of QT Hotels and The Winery) has devised a produce-forward, modern-Australian menu that stars quirky takes on classic comfort dishes, such as pork jowl schnitzel, seared steak tartare, and a whole roast chicken with potato gratin.

The drinks list centres on a selection of more than 180 whiskies from around the world, plus 200+ wines, and a range of beers, cocktails and other spirits. Show off your knowledge of rare and rustic spirits or plan a tasting with noteworthy whiskies – all in the name of sealing that business deal, of course.


When… you’re conducting a work meeting

Atmosphere wise, you’ll have no trouble getting into the nitty-gritty of business at this elegant second-floor gem. In a setting of old-world luxury and charm, Cicchetti Wine Bar ensures you and your colleague are in good hands. Owner Adriana takes great pride in the menu and is a self-proclaimed control freak, noting it’s important to her that sauces, cakes and the like are prepared in-house. This means if you’re dining with someone who has dietary requirements, it’s easy for her to call out a wide range of gluten-free and vegetarian dishes to suit.


When… you need to have a discreet chat

Since 1999, the oasis that is Cellini’s Café & Restaurant has offered a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of the QVB’s lower levels. So much so, in fact, that it has been the preferred lunch haunt of visiting celebrities. George Lucas, Elton John and Kate Moss have all ventured here – likely seeking some quiet time away from crowds.

The interior also offers the best people-watching in the building, which is a great setting when you’re conducting private business discussions with a colleague.

The restaurant is run by Kelly Lee, who immigrated to Australia from Malaysia in 1989. Kelly’s menu specialises in modern Australian favourites, including a chicken and mushroom crepe, pan-fried fish of the day, and beef rendang – a recipe paying homage to Kelly’s heritage and crafted by her long-time chef.


When… a team-building lunch is in order

Vanto offers a fun, vibrant atmosphere for the more casual team get-together. At its heart is a Tuscan-imported wood-fired oven turning out traditional pizzas and twice-baked sandwiches (a must-try) on the double.

Run by three Italians – a Sardinian head chef, a Napolitano pizza chef, and Santino, the Silician ex-detective – Vanto boasts an Italian philosophy that hasn’t swayed since they opened their doors a decade ago. That’s not to say it hasn’t evolved with the trends; you’ll find continually changing dishes that cater to every taste, including vegetarian and vegan offerings, and gluten-free pizza bases made in-house.

In hopes of keeping the offering as true to their heritage as possible, many products are imported from Italy, such as the prosciutto. But nowadays, they say, Australian produce is of such a standard that it’s easy to source ingredients locally whilst remaining true to tradition.

Everything is made in-house, from scratch, so whether they’re partial to a magical margherita, linguine with calamari, or a protein bowl, your team will have little trouble bonding or brainstorming here.


When… it’s time for an informal catch-up

Kikko Café is our pick for a casual chat with a colleague or client over coffee and a croissant. Service is quick, the coffee’s quality and the baristas come with a wealth of experience. If your meeting stretches into a longer, sit-down affair, order the eggs benedict on sourdough, pulled pork burger on a milk bun, or the always-impressive pasta of the day. The vibe here is dynamic and relaxed, located on the iconic ground floor of the building with gentle streams of visitors coasting by.


To find all of the cafes and restaurants listed above serving some of the best business lunches in town, click on the links or head to our A - Z Dining page