Two Fridays ago, Gourmet Chick and I went on a double date to Tinello, a newish Italian that’s gotten lots of publicity thanks to its association with Locanda Locatelli, where Tinello’s owners used to work as sous chef and sommelier. As Gourmet Chick has already noted in her excellent blog post about that evening, our husbands struck a rich vein of conversation in voicing the indignities they suffer at the hands of their food-blogger wives. There was even talk of creating an anti-food-blogger blog. (Good luck with that, guys).
Gourmet Chick has covered the evening pretty well, so I highly recommend that you read her post. My own thoughts on the place are:
- The interior’s mix of exposed brick walls and stylish lighting fixtures is both cool and welcoming, especially for a spot so close to not-usually-either Sloane Square.
- Appetizers of the bacaro-small-plates variety were boring/classic, but generally very tasty. The person manning the fryer knows what’s up.
- Our server’s wine suggestion was spot-on in terms of both the budget and style of wine we described as desirable. So I’d definitely recommend Tinello as a great place for snacks and wine.
- Things got a little rocky when it came to mains and desserts at Tinello. In fairness to the restaurant, we didn’t try any of the meat or fish courses, and instead we stuck to the pastas, which turned out to be nothing special.
- My pumpkin ravioli was by far the best pasta ordered at the table that evening, and although there were a few too-large-and-therefore-too-tough chunks of pumpkin lurking in the ravioli, overall, I enjoyed the pasta.
- Gourmet Chick’s gnudi wasn’t the fluffy-fresh ricotta-gnocchi fest I was expecting. It tasted like loose filling swimming in olive oil, which wasn’t appealing.
Jon and MTV Boyfriend both ordered the paccheri with burrata and nduja, a spicy, spreadable sausage. We hit a bump in service when both men thought their pastas were still crunchy in parts (i.e., a bit too al dente).
Our servers seemed conflicted between wanting to continue offering friendly, helpful service (and taking the dishes back for reheating or remaking) and falling into an unpleasant “the customer is wrong” mode (explaining to us that the dish was meant to be this way/al dente). It was awkward all around, and even though ultimately our servers took the dishes away to be remade or heated until the pasta was softer, the damage was done. And we felt both indignant and embarrassed at the same time.
By the time the dishes arrived again at our table, Gourmet Chick and I had finished our mains, and nobody was in the mood to appreciate the contrast between the silky-cool cream of the burrata and the spicy heat of the tomato-nduja sauce. Service really can make-or-break a meal.
We finished our dinner with a generous hunk of pecorino with bite (£5.50) and something that was described on the menu as “apple cake,” but was instead a passable apple strudel.
With teas, coffees and a tasty bottle of wine (a Carmignano) for £45, our total came to a modest £30 per person before service. If not for the service hiccup, I’d say Tinello was a pleasant, reasonably-priced addition to the Sloane Square dining scene.
Tinello Restaurant, 87 Pimlico Road, SW1W 8PH; 0207 730 3663; closest tube station: Sloane Square