Thoughts on Tinello

Pimlico Road is by far my favourite restaurant road. Recently I went to Hunan, I’ve enjoyed a drink at The Orange and have looked with certain interest at Poule au Pot’s menu. This time however, it was Tinello’s turn.

Part of my 2011 wishlist, Tinello caught my eye last year as it was about to hit Belgravia. With its exposed brickwork and funky lamps, it’s almost too cool for Sloaney school. The Italian restaurant is owned by the Sali brothers, two ex-Locanda Locatellis (head chef and sommelier), which means you dine here expecting fine fettucini and virtuous veal (not that veal ever is virtuous but you get my point).

I remembered looking at the menu when the restaurant opened and thought  “bingo”. This is not a common expression of mine, I just liked what I saw. Now however, I felt a bit uninspired. Yes, there’s a nice range of Italian dishes and classics, but nothing that stands out. Nothing that says “I ain’t gonna share this starter with you mate”.

What we ordered however was very good. For starters we went for roast aubergines with smoked ricotta salad, Tuscan chicken liver crostini, steamed mussels in chilli and garlic, and burrata with pomegranate. I prefered the mussels and burrata, the latter made  an especially interesting creamy union with the fruity flavours of the pomegranate.

Our meal didn’t finish there however. I also had the roast monkfish with taggiasche olives (try saying that 3 times in a row) and pine kernels – and this was bellissima! It’s hard to imagine such an ugly fish having such a wonderful taste, but tasty it was and I would go back just for the perfect meaty texture and sweet tomato base.

As usual, I couldn’t possibly eat any dolci, having had my dessert in the form of a Bellini earlier. Instead I took in the dim-lit industrial interior, sipped on my mint tea and felt actually rather good about myself. I was somehow lulled into a holiday spirit, refusing to realise that London now has every bit of New York style as New York itself.

If I like Tinello so much, why has it been so hard to write about it? It just didn’t leave a lasting impression. Was it because that I had expected more from the menu (although I really can’t complain about anything) or that we were seated next to a Belgravia party that would’ve frowned if I’d raised my voice? I don’t know. What I do know is that I like to go back and find out, if only for that chocolate and hazelnut semifreddo. Did anyone say bikini season?

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