Sadly this restaurant closed in May 2011. The notes that follow are of historical interest only.
101 Pimlico Road is not the most imaginative name for a restaurant, but at least they avoided “Room 101”. The room itself is in a parade of shops, and has a narrow, somewhat cramped room with a bar on one side, tiled floor and walls with wooden frames with assorted pictures within them. The chef is Keith Goddard, who has cooked at Tom Aikens in the past.
The menu is firmly in bistro territory, with starters from £6 - £9, main courses £14 - £18, vegetables at a hefty £4 and desserts mostly at £7. The short wine list (apparently shortly to expand) starts at £17.50 and had choices like Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc 2008 at £35.50 for a wine that costs about a tenner in the shops, the excellent Vega Sicilia Valbuena 5 ano 2002 at £150 compared to a retail price of around £68 and, as a gesture to the prosperous area, Dom Perignon 2000 at £170 compared to a shop price of around £86.
Bread is from Pauls and was a single choice of slices of white rolls (12/20). A “farmer’s soup” was a simple mixed vegetable soup, properly seasoned, though a little truffle oil did not enhance the taste for me, rather adding an unwelcome smoky note (12/20). A tiger prawn and avocado cocktail featured a single tiger prawn, which at least was properly cooked and was paired with pleasant enough lettuce and Marie rose sauce (12/20).
A salad Nicoise had quite good tuna, but undercooked beans and an egg that was fridge cold, with rock-hard sun-dried tomatoes (barely 11/20). A beef pie had pleasant pastry, shin of beef that was fairly tender (the meat is from high grade butcher Jack O’Shea), freshly-made gravy and competent seasoning (12/20). Hand-cut chips were triple cooked and apparently dipped in truffle oil, which added nothing (truffle oil is just a chemical, it is not related to true truffles) and the chips were not quite as crisp as they should be. I applaud restaurants that triple-cook their chips, but these were not quite right (13/20 for effort). Beans with the pie were seriously under-cooked, which was at least consistent.
Crème brulée had a topping that was slightly over-caramelised but a pleasant custard (13/20). A spicy date pudding had a light sponge, good syrupy sauce and tasted properly of dates (13/20).
Service was erratic, though mostly effective. One waitress was friendly, the other borderline hostile at times. The wine was poured in such a large measure that I initially thought the objective was to pour the entire bottle at once, to avoid any pesky topping up. At one point of the evening one of the two waitresses went off to sit at a table to chat to what I presume were friends, though since there were precisely five tables occupied on this Saturday night (three months after opening) this didn’t really affect service adversely. The bill came to £63 a head, with a bottle of moderate wine between two. Overall the cooking seemed to me too erratic for the prices being charged, though there were hints of ability in the kitchen.