How slow can you go?
The Ivy, LondonIt is quite difficult to stage a sit-in at the Ivy, a place expressly devoted to the pursuit of the long lunch. Still, we have several delaying tactics that go beyond a mere reluctance to return to work. The first and smartest is that, by booking at the last minute and failing to be VIPs, we have cleverly secured a low-priority table. This ensures that our competitors on the leisurely-lunch circuit are well into their main courses by the time we arrive at 2pm.
The clientele divides into several degrees of entrenchment. The suits are the first to leave, shortly after 3pm. This accounts for half the population of the restaurant. A couple who, judging by their entwined hands and incessant toasting, are on some kind of anniversary, hold out until 4pm before woozily departing. That leaves us facing down a table of six women.
By 4.30pm, our increasingly animated rivals show no sign of flagging. Since the waiting staff have persistently failed to recognise the signs of occupation, it becomes necessary to introduce more tactics. I clear my plate of everything but a scrap of toasted bap and a gherkin, hoping to incite a waiter into prematurely trying to remove it. The waiters must have sonar for this sort of false finish, because they resist the bait. Fifteen minutes pass. I push my cutlery together and as if by magic, a waiter materialises and whisks it away. There is nothing for it but to order dessert. "It'll be 15 Biggest Prada Store In London minutes on the souffle," he says indifferently. Afternoon yawns into early evening and we sink into the banquette.
At 4.55, the lights dim. Across the room, the six women are still athletically consuming wine. A shift change looms, and the waiters are getting a bit frisky round the till. It is gently suggested that if we want to stay on, we can repair to the bar. However, but no one comes to enforce the suggestion. At 5.10, we accept defeat, and leave the restaurant to the sound of laughter from the long-distance lunchers, who for all we know are still there now. Emma Brockes
Time spent: three hours
Money spent: £90 (for two)
McDonald's, London It is easy to be down on McDonald's. Fat people, for example, are blaming them for their lack of willpower, and times are said to be hard for the multinational meat peddler. So by ducking into a central London restaurant and wasting time, I was surely doing them a favour.
Arriving at 1300 hours, I order a salsa chicken flatbread value meal and take a prime window seat. Part of a New Tastes menu designed to tempt the sophisticated palate back under the golden arches, the chicken flatbread tastes strongly of oregano. It is also only about 10 mouthfuls' worth, so I buy a Creme Egg Mcflurry - soft ice cream with bits of chocolate in it - to pad out dining time. After 20 minutes, the steady stream of customers turns into a flood, with queues spilling out of the front door. There is obviously still life in Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada E Shop the old dog yet (although, as we know, old dogs have never featured on a McDonald's menu).
The average customer spends about 10 minutes in the restaurant, although one man to my left ate a whole meal in three and a half (reading his book and annotating a graph while he was at it). The clientele is also almost exclusively under 35, surprisingly svelte, and prone to consuming food bought elsewhere.
It is the speed of customer turnover that, for the first 50 minutes, allows me Black Leather Prada Milano Purse to hold on to my place. The flatbread is long gone by this point, and I am reduced to poking around the McFlurry. I start to worry that an employee may have sussed me as she keeps trying to brush under my feet. Fortunately, she is only 5ft 2in, so I am confident that I can physically overpower her if necessary. Authentic Prada Canvas Bag
After an hour and a quarter I realise I have been unwittingly sitting next to a bloke I play football with. I tell him what I am doing. "You'll never get kicked out of here," he says. "Maybe after five hours, but not before. If you came to my restaurant though, I'd kick you out." In an eerie coincidence, it turns out he works for the Ivy. I take his hint and leave. Paul MacInnes
Time spent: 76 minutes
Money spent: £4.68
Wagamama, LondonI have measured out my life with coffee spoons, I have lingered over milkshakes, stewed tea, Battenburg. I have even sucked a single wine gum for eight hours to raise money for my Brownie pack. By comparison, wasting an afternoon in a noodle bar should be child's play.
Considerable minutes are notched up changing seats and then slowly reading through every item on the menu before Authentic Prada Bags For Cheap selecting the yasai katsu curry. Crucially, this is a rice-based dish for slower consumption. We'll have none of that slinky business, thank you. It arrives disappointingly quickly, with a fork and spoon. I opt for chopsticks, adopting a steady, one-grain-at-a-time approach.
Half an hour later, the curry is displaying signs of congealment. Even the lettuce now gazes at me sulkily. I am eating so slowly that it becomes like wading through a marsh in large trousers.
"Is everything OK, ma'am?" asks the waitress. I look up, green-gilled. "Everything's great!" I chirp, in an effort to appear robust. She then draws a diagonal line across the top right-hand corner of my placemat. Authentic Prada Trainers What can it mean? I fear I have been blacklisted.
I call my mother, do the crossword, and write the definitive list of my Desert Island Discs. At this point, they threaten to take away my plate, despite the fact that it is only one-third finished. Eventually it is time for pudding. The waitress delivers my coconut ice cream with Authentic Prada Milano Handbags a cheery, "Sorry about the wait!" I make a mental note to tip her handsomely. It takes a good 20 minutes to eat the ice-cream, including chewing the mint sprig garnish slowly, like cud. By this time, the waitresses have changed shifts. I imagine I could stay here for hours - days, perhaps - undetected. Slightly nauseous, I summon the bill. Laura Barton
Time spent: Two hours.
Money spent: £14.85
Maid Marian, NorwichWhat sort of pub would do such a thing? One Authentic Prada Leather Handbags minute they're packing in the pensioners by offering a special senior citizens' lunch at £3.95 for two courses - "the best deal in town", says landlord Gordon Hay - and the next, they're telling 18 regulars from a sheltered housing complex round the corner that their first-Friday-of-every-month block booking will no longer be accepted because Friday is a busy day and, well, to put it bluntly, old people take too long over their dinner. Okay, so it's the fact that they take their places from 12.30 that irritates Mr Hay. If they would only start a little later, or maybe switch to a Thursday, then he'd welcome them - really he would.
It's one of those gabled ringroad pubs that has been more mucked about with than the contents of a chicken nugget. But the latest formula - family food at one end and massive-screen sport at the other - obviously works, for a cross notice at the bar reads: "Please be patient. Our kitchen staff are doing their best."
Aware that we are late for our 1pm booking, we waste no time choosing scampi twice and something from the kids' menu. But for all our obvious readiness to place our order, we seem invisible to the waitresses. It's 15 minutes before Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Sale Uk I spot a second sign by the bar. "In our web page order to maintain our high standard of service," it says, "can you please: choose a vacant table; note the number; place and pay for your food order at the counter."
With our order logged, things move on apace. Before you can say "Friar Tuck", Ap Lei Chau Prada Factory Outlet four platefuls of deep brown pellets await our pleasure. And it's plain sailing from thereon in - except, that is, when we try to order syrup sponge from the senior citizens' menu, only to find that we are under age. Well, it's an easy mistake to make. But I have the distinct impression that the elderly couples who sit down for Cornish pasty and jam roly-poly in their weekend best have learned not to make mistakes.
They eat steadily and, for the most part, in silence. Their two courses take a total of 40 minutes. And if they were tempted to linger - to savour the thin gravy or coo over the catering custard - then they manage to resist. All things considered, I can't blame them. David Newnham
Time spent: 90 minutes
Money spent: £22.99 (for three)