Osteria Dell'Angolo, 47 Marsham Street, London, SW1

Is a Conservative victory all that's needed to reverse the fortunes of Westminster's Osteria Dell'Angolo?

Glancing around on a Monday lunchtime at Osteria Dell'Angolo, a posh Italian in Westminster, the outlook is pretty bleak. It's about a third full, which must be below break-even, given the location and number of staff. Will it be around this time next year?

To be fair, few high-end restaurants in the Westminster Village are full at the moment. The majority of MPs are out of town, either on the campaign trail or canvassing in their constituencies. Not that they'd be footing the bill in any case – their expenses have never stretched to expensive lunches, even during the golden era. That would be where journalists come in. But we've been feeling the pinch.

Luckily for people such as Claudio Pulze, who owns Osteria Dell'Angolo along with the nearby Al Duca, hope is at hand. If the Conservatives win the election, Cameron has pledged to end all dining subsidies within the Palace of Westminster. That means Harris's, the greasy spoon in between the House of Commons and the House of Lords, will be charging full price for a full English, while The Adjournment, the upmarket restaurant within Portcullis House reserved for MPs and their guests, won't be much cheaper than Shepherd's. For the restaurants dotted around Westminster, happy days will be here again.

Osteria Dell'Angolo opened in February last year and, after an initial hiccup in which head chef Michele Brogi departed, has established itself as a "power restaurant". Pulze certainly has plenty of experience when it comes to fine dining. His previous successes include Canteen, Aubergine and Zafferano and among the head chefs who have worked for him are Marcus Wareing, Giorgio Locatelli and Gordon Ramsay. Not bad for a man who started his career as a bellboy.

The interior looks expensive, as befits a bolthole for Britain's political elite. It's all dark wood and soft lighting, with plenty of booths tucked out of sight for the discreet exchange of plain brown envelopes. For those plotting leadership coups, there is even a private dining-room.

I've arranged to meet Rachel Wolf, the founder of the New Schools Network, and James Marshall, a House of Commons researcher, to discuss my plans to set up Britain's first "free school". They both seem pleasantly surprised that I'm taking them to such a grand restaurant. We set about ordering with enthusiasm, all cross-referencing to make sure we're having different things.

After five minutes, a waiter appears and plonks down a tiny morsel of unidentifiable meat. For a second I think this is my first course – roast quail wrapped with pancetta – but it turns out to be the amuse-bouche. Phew! When the quail finally arrives, it is packed with flavour and it isn't long before I've abandoned my knife and fork to tear at it with my teeth. James is fairly pleased with his chickpea and cuttlefish soup – "fish a bit rubbery, though" – while Rachel thinks her octopus carpaccio is "overdressed".

For my main, I opt for fillet of beef with sautéed spinach and a timbale of potato, ham and leeks, while James has risotto with artichokes and pecorino cheese, and Rachel has squid-ink tagliolini with courgettes and scallops.

My beef is perfectly cooked, but the reduction accompanying it is a little metallic, and the timbale is wafer-thin. Rachel praises her scallops – "delicious" – and James declares his risotto "spot-on", but all three of us are not quite as blown away as we'd been expecting.

For pudding, we share a chocolate tortino with vanilla sauce and almond crumble which, judging from the speed with which it disappears, we all like a good deal.

I have to confess to being a little disappointed, given the size of Pulze's reputation. The new chef, Massimiliano Vezzi, isn't quite firing on all cylinders, not paying as much attention to dressings and sauces as he should. The service is below par, too, with members of staff milling about at the rear of the restaurant, seemingly oblivious to the needs of their customers. It took me 10 minutes to get the bill.

I've no doubt Osteria Dell'Angolo will survive, but it has to raise its game to give the Cinnamon Club a run for its money. Unless things improve, it will be that upmarket Indian that benefits from Cameron's clampdown, not this upmarket Italian. n

12/20

Scores: 1-9 stay home and cook, 10-11 needs help, 12 ok, 13 pleasant enough, 14 good, 15 very good, 16 capable of greatness, 17 special, can't wait to go back, 18 highly honourable, 19 unique and memorable, 20 as good as it gets

Osteria Dell'Angolo 47 Marsham Street, London SW1, tel: 020 3268 1077 Lunch, Mon-Fri, dinner Mon-Sat. Lunch for three, including service, about £100

More Italian jobs

Stock

4 Norfolk Street, Manchester, tel: 0161 839 6644

Spectacularly located in the old Stock Exchange, this 10-year-old all-rounder offers high-class classic cooking, from quality ingredients, and excellent service; it is, however, not cheap

Firenze

9 Station St, Kibworth, Leicester, tel: 0116 279 6260

Some of the most authentic Tuscan cooking outside of Tuscany – the Poli family's decade-old venture still offers accomplished food at very good prices, and is often very busy

Caldesi in Campagna

Old Mill Lane, Bray, Berkshire, tel: 01628 788 500

Adding further lustre to Bray's already faultless gastronomic credentials, this buzzy and elegant newcomer offers a pleasing, notionally rustic Italian cucina

Reviews extracted from 'Harden's London and UK Restaurant Guides 2010'. www.hardens.com

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Technical Supervisor

    £24800 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As one of London's leading Muse...

    Recruitment Genius: Centre Manager

    £14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Guru Careers: Accountant

    £28 - 45k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Accountant is needed to take control of the ...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Assistant Manager

    £18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This hotel in Chadderton is a p...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living