Quattro Passi: Just another posh Italian (January 2015)

Londoners do not have to look far to find high-end Italians, particularly in swanky Mayfair. Nonetheless, a newish restaurant fronted by a chef with two Michelin stars under his belt in his native Italy deserves a visit. Our recent lunch at Quattro Passi, while impressive, certainly wasn’t stand-out and there are many other Italians I would rate above this one in the vicinity. As much as the website promises tastes of Campania (think the Amalfi coast) and diners are greeted by ornate lemon bushes in the foyer, the atmosphere within Quattro Passi is much more austere. Like the now-deceased Cotidie on Marylebone High Street, the room occupied by Quattro Passi felt far too large to be intimate. Moreover, it was decorated primarily in cold colours and populated primarily by suits. Maybe it gets better in the evening, but the restaurant certainly seems to be somewhere much more aimed at business deals rather than romancing. A set lunch menu of £25 nonetheless has some obvious appeal, although beware of the a la carte, where prices are much more eye-watering. My octopus Carpaccio starter was wonderfully fresh, light and tender while my comrade also rated his squid. Mains also pleased: an excellent veal ravioli for me and a wonderfully presented (and tasty) fish and vegetable tempura for my comrade. While the food could not be faulted, the service was somewhat more haphazard. In a place that was far from packed, I resent heavily being asked what I would like to eat barely a minute after being given the menu, and on both occasions our server presented my comrade and me with our dishes the wrong way round. It also took us inordinately long to pay the bill. One final word of warning for diners here: beware the wine list. We both partook in an adequate glass of Falanghina (at £9 each), but one would really struggle to find a bottle for less than £60. In conclusion, however good the food may have been, there are certainly much better all-round experiences elsewhere.