By Jonathan Hatchman, Food Editor, @TLE_Food
When restaurants are opened with names that fall towards the less helpful or imaginative end of the spectrum (street addresses included), there’s often an air of tremendous pretention. Thankfully, however, this is not the case with No. 11 Pimlico Road, an independent all-day venue that’s nowhere near as pretentious as its name or postcode would suggest. Opened at the beginning of 2013 in place of The Ebury, located between Victoria station and Sloane Square, No.11 offers an informal buzzy neighbourhood vibe within its stylishly modern setting. As the evenings progresses the restaurant does become cacophonously loud, most probably due to the venue’s sheer size and capacity, but this is most certainly a venue that’s leant more towards socialising – juxtaposed to more romantic date nights.
Following a long cold day it’s the impressive central bar that grabs our attention upon arrival for our dinner reservation. Renowned for its Cocktails with a menu prided on British ingredients that features in-house adaptations of classics, my friend seeks solace with a large balloon of opulent Malbec, but it’s the Old Fashioned that takes my fancy – there are in fact four variations, but the most classic is so good that just one is not enough. Moving on to the food, there’s also a strong focus on mainly British comfort food, to begin there’s a range of small plates, a basket of ‘artisan breads’ (£3.95) is warm and fresh, served with the choice of either butter or olive oil and balsamic vinegar from the extremely helpful albeit unobtrusive staff. Pork and fennel meatballs (£7.50) are extremely delectable, well sized and devoid of being overcooked, served with a simple yet comforting tomato and basil sauce and Parmesan shavings. Meanwhile the crispy pepper squid (£7.95) is a little on the tough side, but the accompaniment of spring onions, coriander and chilli does add a real depth of flavour.
The main courses are equally as comforting; the shepherd’s pie (£14.50) is a warm welcome for the change of seasons. It’s not the most memorable of dishes, but slow cooked chunks of lamb teamed with pumpkin and glossy mashed potato are topped with a thick layer of melted cheddar for a real enjoyable dish. My friend’s burger (£11.95), on the other hand is a colossal tower of meat and lightly toasted brioche bun, joined by swathes of cheddar and salty dry-aged streaky bacon with a house burger sauce on the side to complement. It’s not the most exploratory of choices or the best burger in London for that price, but it’s contentedly satiating. By the time that the mains have disappeared there’s little room for dessert, therefore it’s the maple and banana toffee crumble (£6.50) with two spoons that’s ordered. Banana and rich toffee is a perfect pair, the crumble filling is a little sickly-sweet but the crunchy topping is very good, and the real highlight is the large scoop of banana ice cream that melts down into the warm dish.
The food on offer at No. 11 is far from the most adventurous of cooking, not dissimilar in fact to some of the city’s more competent pub kitchens, serving appetising home comforts. With this being the case, however, the food that is on offer is also very enjoyable and considerably reasonable for this part of the city. The relaxed ambience is also wonderful, a seemingly ideal retreat from the Sunday afternoon chaos of Victoria Station.
The restaurant can be found at 11 Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8NB.