A business lunch. A quaint notion that conjures up images of health plates and dairy-free salads and Atkins steaks.
A pint and a sandwich in The Railway is generally the closest SevenStreets gets to a working lunch because getting to the pub and back while finding the time to order and demolish a meal while chatting to a friend or colleague is a big ask in one hour. And talking with your mouth full is simply not on, as any fule kno.
Happily, then, the Radisson’s Filini restaurant offers a Lightning Lunch. If they don’t come up with the goods in 15 minutes it’s on them.
We sat down with a friend to a largely empty restaurant with views looking out on… well, the buildings on the other side of The Strand, primarily. If you want views you can head upstairs to the Panoramic – and what we heard described recently as the best view from a restaurant in the country.
Filini is smart, though, in a cool sort of way and the small booths are cost and comfortable. The Lightning Lunch consists of a pleasingly straightforward menu that includes a few salads and a few old stand-bys.
Pasta, sausages and mash and omelette were among the choices when we went. All are £6.95 and come with a soft drink or coffee. All the fizzy pops were off for some reason on the day we went but there was fruit juice and mineral water.
Annoyingly our food came with about two minutes to spare before the 15-minute cut-off. While that meant we did have to fish our wallet out it also suggested that the food is cooked to order.
We went for the sausages and mash with creamed potato and an onion gravy. It was perfectly fine for the money and three sausages was more than we expected; they weren’t exactly gourmet examples mind.
Our friend’s bacon and tomato pasta looked rather mean, considering the price and likely cost of ingredients. It also looked rather like a tin of Heinz’s spaghetti, in a bright orange sauce. We’re assured that it tasted nice but, for seven quid, it looked a bit more School Dinner than Lightning Lunch. It needed just a slice of garlic bread or a few olives or at least a herb or salad garnish of some sort. The food in Filini may be excellent, but the Lightning Lunch menu doesn’t give diners a chance to appreciate it or the chefs to show it off.
Service was good and relatively no-nonsense, though the till had joined the lemonade gun in silicone heaven so the entire affair easily nudged 60 minutes by the time we got back to the office.
That’s the problem with the Lightning Lunch. Filini is right at the edge of the city centre, it’s not especially visible and it’s not reachable in a lunch hour for – at a guess – about 99 per cent of those who work in Liverpool’s city centre.
In itself it’s perfectly fine, but we’re told that Filini can do a lot better; there’s a three-course deal for £21.95 that has some innovative Italian dishes that look very promising. The people behind the food can apparently cook very well, so our suggestion is to hang the Lightning Lunch, give yourself the afternoon off and go for the three courses – and a relaxed afternoon – in Filini.
Filini’s Lightning Lunch runs from Noon-14:30 Monday to Friday
Radisson Blu Liverpool
Old Hall Street