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|Address:||87 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8PH|
|Tel:||020 7730 3663|
|Price: £44.00||Wine: £15.50||Champagne: £55.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6.30-10.30pm|
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Tinello is probably my perfect restaurant in terms of look and atmosphere. I like the New York-style exposed brickwork (not so much exposed as built to order) artfully juxtaposed with the Parisian-style velvet curtains that drape along a windowless back wall. It's theatre. Contrived, elegant, illusional, crowd-pleasing, high-brow, theatre. I like the Italian waiters bustling about calling instructions to each other in Italian, very authentic. I like the clientele: discreetly Chelsea (although I am not keen on the child one of them has brought along) providing a background hum about house prices/bond values/school fees, sotto voce of course. Sadly that's where my love affair with Tinello ends. Most Italians don't actually eat antipasti, a pasta “starter”, and a main course but even if they did I doubt even the most Pavarotti-waisted of them would feel the need to throw in some “small eats” too. What does this mean and what's the difference between a pasta and a main? £3 it turns out. A menu should never really require explanation in my opinion: you've come out for a meal, not the mental agility round on Krypton Factor. We end up having a mix of antipasti and small eats to start, which were all perfectly “nice” but the best was the aubergine/parmesan bake, which any Nonna could have knocked up and isn't really an advert for aspirational excellence. I can never resist the posh man's spag bol, pappardelle with wild boar ragu, so I had that for a main. Whilst it was perfectly edible, it left a greasy slick on the plate and in my intestines and would have struggled in a competition with the rich, juicy, intense dish served up by the much more low-key Melanzane in Battersea. Finally, service: our empty G&T glasses sat on the table until the end of the meal and that was indicative of a general lack of attention. We had a reasonably priced wine and a few coffees and got away with £45 a head so not extortionate by any means but I won't be back as I want something more in my restaurant relationship than just good looks and a charming accent.