While well-known for its interior design boutiques, Pimlico has never been exactly renowned for its restaurant scene. However, in recent years there has also been a slew of new openings, from trendy gastropubs to chic bistros, making this London areas a great place to eat. Here are our top picks.
Cambridge Street Kitchen
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, European, Healthy, British, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$$
Cambridge Street Kitchen, London | courtesy of Cambridge Street Kitchen
Tucked away down a Pimlico side street, Cambridge Street Kitchen is a café during the day, popular with the brunch crowd, and a restaurant in the evening. It’s part of a hotel from the ever-cool Artist Residence group and, as you might expect, its design is immaculate. Colourful, soft-seat benches run around the perimeter, while the walls are adorned with fun, modern prints. The menu is adventurous British and uses locally sourced, organic ingredients, and there’s a swanky cocktail bar downstairs for afterwards.
English bistro Grumbles is a long-standing Pimlico favourite. Their interior hasn’t changed since it started, which they are proud of, giving the place a lovely, quaint feel; diners are seated in rustic wooden booths, hanging baskets swing from the ceiling, and Parisian street signs and posters hang on the wood-paneled walls.
This little Italian restaurant is the perfect antidote to the bland, chain restaurants, and a hot spot with locals in the know. Occupying a corner spot near Warwick Square with panoramic windows, O’Sole Mio offers traditional Italian pizza and pasta dishes, constantly praised for the authenticity of its cooking and atmosphere; all the staff are Italian, and enthusiastically friendly to boot, creating a warm, welcoming and relaxed environment.
Don’t be put off by the twee name; About Thyme is actually a classy, high-end bistro. They specialise in modern European cuisine, particularly Spanish, with traditional Mediterranean tapas standing alongside British classics. Ingredients are sourced from British suppliers and small Spanish growers, and the wine list features vintages from around the world.
More a café than a restaurant, Pimlico Fresh is an enormously popular spot for brunch and lunch, and offers far heartier and more filling meals than your regular café. There are plenty of stews, pies, curries and soups on offer, all of which are freshly prepared and many of which offer non-standard, creative twists on staples. The two-room space is filled with large, communal tables with floor to ceiling blackboards displaying the day’s offerings.
A bar and restaurant with a lovely, open plan layout which takes full advantage of the abundant light that streams through its huge, arched windows. Housed in an attractive red brick, period building and filled with chic Scandinavian-style furniture, No. 11 offers a relaxed dining experience. While this all day venue is popular for breakfast and brunch, if you’re after dinner, the small sharing plates are a great option for late afternoon or early evening.
The Orange really puts the gastro in gastropub. The attractive, small front leads into a faux-rustic interior filled with distressed furniture, muted colours and bold vintage posters, creating a generally welcoming atmosphere. The food is pretty pricey given it’s at the luxurious end of the gastro spectrum, and can be enjoyed either in the relaxed downstairs space or the more formal dining room upstairs. The menu is a mix of British classics served in an upscale manner, and wood-fired pizzas with creative toppings.
One of the best kept secrets in west London, the Vincent Rooms is a contemporary European restaurant run by second and third year culinary and hospitality students from Westminster Kingsway College. Though they are overseen by their lecturers, students staffing both front of house and in the kitchen allows visitors to have an exquisite, luxury dining experience for significantly lower prices than at similarly sophisticated restaurants.
The iconic room of the Rex Whistler has been described as one of the most glamorous places to drink wine in London. It is named for the artist who, in the 1920s, painted the floor-to-ceiling, hunting-themed mural which decorates all four walls. The restaurant is only open for lunch, and the menu is filled with classic British food with a heritage focus.
Kazan is an upmarket Turkish restaurant, but the food is as generous and hearty as its less extravagant cousins. The décor is beautifully opulent, with black furnishings and plenty of red and gold accents, while the menu is inspired by the food produced in the Sultans’ kitchens from the Ottoman era, but with a distinctly modern feel.