A worthy offshoot of the Thos. Cubitt, this large Pimlico/Belgravia fringe newcomer is a similarly smart and useful bistro-cum-boozer; a first-week inspection found it already doing good business.
Belgravia was long a pretty deadbeat place to eat, but it’s improved a lot in recent years, in part thanks to the young team that first established the Thos. Cubitt as the area’s always-beating ‘heart’, and subsequently the Pantechnicon as one of the best-value places to eat near Knightsbridge.
It’s tempting to describe the style of the operations as ‘gastropub’, but the establishments are really more in the nature of smart bistros.
Well, now the group’s done it again. Anyone familiar with the formula will not be at all surprised by the elegant make-over which has been given to the formerly dowdy and awkwardly-contrived Orange Brewery, by what used to be called Pimlico Green.
We must say we weren’t particularly thrilled by the downstairs dining room – a little Daylesford Organic (Notting Hill) for our tastes – but the upstairs room in the interesting multi-level building is, as at the other ‘branches’, notably light and elegant.
A quick sampling of the food suggested that, even in the opening week, the food standards are very much par for the course, with autumnal dishes such as mushrooms and polenta, and wild boar soup with chorizo, pitched just right – no pretensions to high gastronomic art, but thoroughly satisfying. (We didn’t sample the wood-oven pizza, which is a novel speciality here, but the group rarely dishes up anything which isn’t at least competent.)
Service was on the ball too, even in these early days. How nice to hear someone say: ‘and would you like some tapwater’. What a shame to spoil it, then, with a credit card machine that invites you to add a gratuity to a bill to which a service charge has already been added. Let’s hope that’s something which doesn’t survive the opening week.