THE days of the long business lunch may well be over, but students and staff at The Restaurant at BCoT are happy to offer an alternative.

Catering and hospitality students at Basingstoke College of Technology, in Worting Road, have just introduced an Express Lunch business menu, available every Thursday and Friday.

Duncan Brammall, programme manager for hospitality and catering at BCoT, said: “Although, the days of the long business lunch seem to be over, we are looking for an opportunity to attract people from the business community to pop in for lunch.

“With our express lunches, we aim to give customers a complete service within 50 minutes. This will give our students an opportunity to experience dealing with busy people who have less time than say our evening diners. Of course, they are welcome to stay longer if they wish.”

Items on offer on the winter menu include the likes of delicious poached hens eggs, with toasted muffin and hollandaise sauce with crispy Parma ham for starters, while pan seared fillet of sea bass, with caramelised cauliflower with tomato and olive dressing is one of several main courses. Choux bun with honeycomb ice cream makes a wonderful dessert.

All of the food is prepared and made fresh at The Restaurant, which in 2012 underwent a £110,000 revamp to update the kitchen and the restaurant.

The hard-working students, who are keen to be as professional as possible, are made up of entry level and Level I, II and III hospitality and catering students.

Last year the hospitality department was rated as outstanding by Ofsted, and those who attended the INSPIRE13 Business Awards in November, would have been impressed with the service provided by students who assisted The Hampshire Court Hotel staff in preparing and serving delicious starters and desserts.

Mr Brammall said starting next week, The Restaurant at BCoT will be posting its lunchtime menu online for diners to peruse before they arrive and, if they wish, when they make a booking, they can say what they would like to order.

Students can also deal with any special dietary requests if necessary.

The Restaurant, which can cater for 60 to 70 covers, has a loyal following of evening diners, and on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, it runs themed evenings.

To view the Express Lunch menu, and to find out about the themed evenings schedule, visit or call 01256 306306.