Evan Hughes is a great fan of Lunch With columns. He buys the Financial Times every weekend to read its chew and spew column as well as its arts coverage. And he's a big reader of The Australian Financial Review, not only for this column but for Phillip Coorey, whose political commentary Hughes liberally quotes – sometimes in favour, sometimes not.

All that reading has left him with some firm thoughts on what's appropriate in situations such as that we find ourselves in, dining on a sunny Sydney day at Chiswick at the Art Gallery of NSW. It's Hughes' choice of venue – and not the only thing he's carefully pondered before arriving here today.

"I have always thought that if I ever get here, I'm not going to be one of those people who has a salad and a water," he says as he peruses the wine list. "I reckon when a CEO is seen to be having a salad and water, if I was a shareholder I'd sell straight away."

With that, he selects a bottle of crisp white wine to go with the oysters and tuna tartare we've ordered for entree.