It's not often I am made aware of a new place to eat by my sister. She's normally more interested in jewellery and bags (it's her job and hobby) but was pleasantly surprised when she suggested an outing to a new Italian restaurant in Pimlico. A joint venture between the founders of Locanda Locatelli and two of their former employees, it focuses on Tuscan flavours and is located a short stroll from Sloane Square.
The restaurant itself is exactly how you would expect a restaurant on the Pimlico Road to be, full of middle aged people who look like they have plenty of money. My sisters fashion radar went into overdrive, spotting Louboutins left right and centre (these are shoes, right?), and a sure-fire sign that the clientele are members of the well to do. The space itself is relatively compact and has the appearance of being rather dark, but most tables have their own lamps hanging overhead, shining enough light on the table to be able to determine what you are eating.
The menu appears to be relatively standard for an Italian restaurant, indicating anti pasti, pasta and secondi, with the addition of a selection of small plates. Between the three of us, we ordered all the small plates and sat back waiting for the feast to begin. It didn’t take long before all the plates came out and what landed on the table really was quite a diverse selection of food. From the creamy and rich chicken livers on crostini, to the fishy and crisp cuttlefish deep fried with a little of its own ink. Every small plate had merits in its own right but I think my favourite was the panzanella, a simple salad made with stale bread, rich with that sharp vinegary tang. Oh, and look out for the burrata, an incredibly soft and creamy mozzarella, and well worth a try.
After the rapid demise of the contents of the small plates, and after a short wait, our mains touched down on our table. My sister had opted for the paccheri with nduja (a smoky Italian sausage) and burrata, whilst our other dining companion had opted for the chicken. However, all eyes were instantly on my main, a tender filet of beef served with girolles on a bed of Swiss chard. The piece of beef was probably the most tender and buttery piece of meat ever to have graced my lips. The outside was perfectly seared with the meat inside a glorious ruby pink. Every bite was silky smooth and combined with the slightly bitter chard and the earthy girolles, I happily munched away quietly, a certified sign of a happy diner.
I had a few nibbles from everyone's plates and the general consensus was very good overall. I ended with some ice cream and sorbet which was made in house but was sadly a little disappointed. The "Malaga" or rum and raisin flavour ice cream was pleasant enough but was way too sweet, and the yoghurt ice cream just wasn't my cup of tea. Raspberry sorbet was again nice enough, but lacked a deep raspberry flavour.
I had read a few comments on Twitter about Tinello before I went which had started to paint a rather lacklustre picture, but I am happy to report that my experience there was rather good. I really enjoyed the variety of "small plates" and at a couple of pounds each, they are extremely good value. My main was one of the best I have tasted all year and it was only the disappointing ice cream that let down my meal. And the best thing about the meal? The cost. For all that we ate, albeit with only one beer under the drinks column, the total came to £75, a mere £25 a head. For the amount of food we ate, I thought this was excellent value. I shall be returning soon.
Tinello - 87 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8PH