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It's the Il Forno business lunch

Fortunate enough to work in the Ropewalks area? Then there's an impressive place to do lunch

Published on January 14th 2010.

It's the Il Forno business lunch

THERE is something to be said for not working in the traditional so-called business district of Liverpool Yes, yes, Dale Street, Castle Street and environs might be well off with their myriad bars and restaurants offering the suited and booted sustenance in all manner of lunchtime variations. And is right that you get Phillpots thrown in too. But it's not the only district for wheeling and dealing.

It is the Bold Street area and its Duke Street hinterland, the “Ropewalks”, where increasingly successful businesses and creative industries have started off from seed and have stayed. And while there is nothing wrong with Maggie Mays, often a classy looking joint is needed, preferably with plenty of daylight. Step in Il Forno with its two and three course set lunches at £10.95 and £14.95 respectively.

The important thing about a business lunch is that it happens not to far from the desk (wage slaves, however high in the command, are only on a long leash, remember) and that it's quick, affordable and doesn't leave you nodding off during that 3pm powerpoint presentation conducted by Jeff, in the tight chinos, from sales.

But that's not to say you don't come from the Il Forno business lunch replete.

We devoured Prosciutto e melone (generous slices of melon, draped in a flavoursome Italian ham), squid ink tagliolini and mussels in a moreish cherry tomato and garlic broth, which we would love to see as a main course, please There was also a mini “pizetta” on offer in the starters. Ah but if we were three.

Il Forno really does do pasta well, so why we passed up the Pennette Puttanesca with tomatoes, olives, capers and anchovies - a favourite in our (Jamie Oliver) book – we don't know. It was therefore left to the escalope of pork with a lemon sauce, and the monkfish with an olive and cherry tomato sauce and steamed broccoli to, well, do the biz.

Both were quickly and expertly put together, leaving us plenty of time to linger over them, and to contemplate their optimum freshness and zing. Chips (well it would be rude not to) were excellent, as were the other side orders (be warned, you pay extra for these) of loads of spinach and garlicky green beans – who cares what they think back at the office.

One of the most authentic tiramisus we've had came laced in brandy, and the strawberry ice cream, homemade, was a complete revelation. If you only allow yourself one ice cream in a blue moon, have it here. But more of that another time.

The menu changes every Tuesday , so you can go back every week and it will never be the same. Go on, impress someone.

*Il Forno business lunch: £10.95 for two courses, £14.95 for three courses, is available Monday to Friday from 12-2.30pm.

Il Forno
132 Duke Street
East Village
Liverpool L1 5AG
0151 709 4002

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