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The Queens Arms SW1
On the former site of the Page in Pimlico (RIP), the first gastropub at the 'wrong' (Eastern) end of the area; its cuisine is not ambitious, but this is a notably friendly place which has found an instant following in a part of town that's remarkably under-served.
Pimlico - especially the Victoria, rather than the Sloane Square end - really is the restaurant world that time forgot. This is the part of town that houses the likes of Grumbles (the English bistro in business since 1964) and Pomegranates (Patrick Gwynn-Jones's eclectic basement restaurant, established some time in the '70s), but where it sometimes seems not much has happened ever since.
What the area has most particularly lacked in recent times is a gastopub. Well, no longer. The former Page in Pimlico has now been elegantly (but not extravagantly) revamped, and relaunched as such. This is not a 'foodie' pub offering lovingly-crafted English dishes where all the ingredients are painstakingly sourced, but the menu changes weekly, and offers something for most tastes. It's also realised to a solid standard. On our visit, a well-textured risotto and a satisfying plate of steak 'n' chips were among the highlights - on the downside, a chocolate fondant tasted bought-in.
Ultimately, though, this is a place where the food is merely good enough, but where everything else really clicks. Drinks, including a decent choice of wines, come reasonably priced, and the setting is charming. It's the service, though, which really stands out. Our (American) waitress could not have tried harder, and bar service was very amiable too. But the ultimate test is popularity with the smarter local thirtysomethings - on that basis, this place is already a palpable hit.
11 Warwick Way, London, SW1V 1QT
Last orders: 10 pm