Filini @ The Radisson Blu

The Radisson, on Old Hall Street, has been around for almost a decade, and with it comes Filini, a modern Italian restaurant. I’d eaten there several years ago and had pleasant memories of what was a good meal, a good balance of refined food that didn’t trip on the usual obstacles of being over fussy or over priced. Thus, I was rather pleased when I was invited in to write a review of their new menu one lunch time.

After the walk through the rather lovely foyer, I enquired at the restaurant about our booking, which had gone astray. However, we were quickly seated with the minimum of fuss. The dining room is light and airy, with deep red booths and lighter tables and chairs. The very pleasant views across the Mersey make this a nice place for a meal, day or night.

Filini’s menu on my previous trips had been slightly refined, and I believe they held an AA rosette at one time. I was, however, surprised to see that they have taken a step towards the middle ground, the menu being more about pizza and pasta and simple steaks. Rather than the more, dare I say, up-market food of the past, this menu was flirting with the mundane. I have nothing against this type of food, but it’s available in so many other places in Liverpool, to really stand out it would have to be excellent or very cheap. Unfortunately it was neither.

The food wasn’t bad, it was just fine, the prices weren’t high just reasonable. On the whole I didn’t see what made this different from so many other restaurants in Liverpool. Except the location, that really isn’t good, I imagine the footfall isn’t great and I doubt this very standard food would draw customers from the city centre’s busier locations.

One of our starters, the carpaccio of beef was very nice, simple tasty and well presented. The other, panzanella salad of tomatoes, peppers and bread consisted mainly of lettuce leaves. The bread was OK, the crisp wafers better than the poor breadsticks. This dish didn’t really resemble what was on the menu, a theme that continued elsewhere.

My pappardelle with meatballs was good, slightly al-dente pasta and rich tomato sauce punctuated with great smoky chunks of pancetta, the meatballs were heavy and a bit dry. Ricotta ravioli with tomato pesto was actually ricotta and spinach tortellini with tomato sauce, it was fine the tortellini being acceptable, but I doubt they were made fresh on the premises. It wasn’t however the dish we were expecting, again the menu was showing its inaccuracies, telling us one thing but delivering another.

A single dessert of Tiramisu, was another OK dish, a greater amount of sponge would have really benefited the excess of creamy topping. It also lacked a hit of coffee or booze to tie it all together.

A restaurant in this location needs to do something a bit different, at least attempting food that will attract punters to a quieter part of town. However, Filini doesn’t do this, its food is fine and its prices aren’t bad but it doesn’t stand out. It offers the same food as so many other restaurants in the city.

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