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Chinese whispers: Spilling the beans

"go with BarCap, ditch StanChart and whatever you do don’t tell the media, mate!"


When it comes to selecting a restaurant for that crucial lunch meeting, there are so many factors to consider. The appetites of one’s guests, the views on offer, the location, the service, the cost... the list goes on. One underrated factor that crucially slipped the mind of a neighbour of Euromoney’s in a Hong Kong venue recently is discretion. Even the more upmarket of Hong Kong’s restaurants can become crowded to the point of discomfort at lunchtime, and restaurants with more widely spaced tables are prized for key deal-making lunches.

Diners at the tables for two at the back of Harlan’s otherwise fine restaurant in IFC, however, could probably caress the shoulders of both sets of neighbours without rising from their seats if they so desired. So it was unfortunate that a thrusting young dealmaker had chosen one such table for a lunch next to your correspondent this week, and doubly unfortunate that he chose to bellow instructions regarding a deal into his phone as he waited for his dining companion.

Try as we might to focus on the conversation of our own guest, we were unable to avoid hearing the long, shouted diatribe that ended with the memorable exertion to "go with BarCap, ditch StanChart and whatever you do don’t tell the media, mate!" Alas, too late. Should the loud-voiced diner recognize himself in this column, we might recommend the more spacious environs of somewhere like the Mandarin Grill for next time... or the use of email for such heated negotiations.

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