The places in town not to be seen

ARE you happy in your job? Of course you are. You are hardworking and &ndash; most importantly &ndash; loyal. But imagine if somebody did come along and try to headhunt you. You would be stupid not to agree to a meeting, just to have a chat and see how the land lies. A little bit more security would have to be attractive. An increase in money would be welcome, no doubt. What&rsquo;s the harm in having a chinwag?<br /><br />But that&rsquo;s where the problems start, because you don&rsquo;t want to be seen talking shop with your rival&rsquo;s boss, do you? And that&rsquo;s just why nooks and crannies are in such demand. A table in a good restaurant where you are hidden from prying eyes is priceless at the moment. Belinda Jarman, manager at chic City restaurant and bar Prism, says she&rsquo;s been seeing far more intense, heads-down meetings in the past few months. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s a sense that a lot of business is being done, but people don&rsquo;t want to be seen. Our most popular tables are hidden away or in places where you can be either out of earshot or sight.&rdquo;<br /><br />Favourites are table 11, which stands alone in the main dining room; 31-36, which run along the side and are sandwiched between pillars and the wall and the select tables in the Conservatory which can&rsquo;t be seen from the main room. At The Mercer on Threadneedle Street, among the most popular seats for lunch are the stools at the counter in the back of the room, where diners sit with their backs to the other diners.<br /><br />At the Dorchester Bar they say that the two seats at the back of the bar, behind two towering pink spikes, is popular &ndash; not for people seeking romantic seclusion but rather for those who appear to be interviewing on the sly.<br /><br />London is big yet small &ndash; it&rsquo;s strangely easy to run into people you know and the City in particular is a veritable gossip-fest. So if you want to be in the middle of the action and discreet at the same time, you need to know the best places not to be seen, and preferably those that come with good food and wine. Here&rsquo;s our guide to the best.<br />