In my ongoing quest for interesting lunch venues in the Westminster area I booked Quirinale to meet up with a friend who I’ve not seen for ages. It’s a perfectly decent venue – certainly not somewhere worth making a special trip to, but if, like me, you work 5 minutes walk away it’s a good option.
Despite being in the basement and also rather small the dining room managed the difficult trick of being both light and spacious, if ultimately a bit bland. The atmosphere was fine, not exciting, but not noisy, cramped or stuffy, just lots of suits having lunch – like me!
Service is efficient and effective – you get what you ask for and it turns up without awkwardly long waits which makes it ideal for a quick lunch. The only downside did seem to be the slightly strange insistence on repeatedly offering the rather good selection of bread – I think we saw the basket/tray on about 4 occasions, which was at least twice too many given we’d already refused any more after the first round.
Food is brilliant value – the lunchtime set menu is £19 for 2 courses and £23 for 3, which stands comparison to almost anywhere half decent in central London. Add on a bottle of water and 12.5% service and the entire bill came to about £45, which split 2 ways is a very nice option.
Food is good rather than stunning. I had spiced pumpkin and amaretti soup to start, credit for the fact it was properly hot rather than merely warm when it arrived, thick and had some interesting flavours. This was followed by spinach and ricotta gnocchi with parmesan and roast tomatoes – nicely cooked, and filling, but just a slightly bland set of flavours. We skipped dessert.
Overall I liked it – it certainly wouldn’t stand out as one of the finest Italian restaurants in London, but it’s a nice alternative from some of my usual haunts and somewhere I’ll be going back to.