Pimlico and Victoria are hard work. While Victoria is bustling, busy and commercialised, Pimlico is in a transitory state and still feels a little unloved. To most, Victoria Station’s walls are imprisoning, and the food experience peaks at an M&S sandwich. But step out without a traveller’s agenda to find some of the best dim sum in London, alongside crowd-pleasing modern British, and a charming neighbourhood spot for joyous homemade pasta.Read More
13 Great Places to Eat in Victoria and Pimlico
Including two of London’s very best Chinese restaurants
1. The Goring Dining Room
Next door to Siren is The Dining Room, The Goring’s old guard, a bastion of Michelin-starred dining and a favourite of royalty, not least because it’s only round the corner from Buckingham Palace. The Queen Mother enjoyed the eggs drumkilbo — not a bad choice at all — while other famous regulars include Sir Roger Moore and Elle Macpherson, or so it is said. Dishes are the highest of high-end, wines fine by the bottle and by the glass, and the service is exceptional. A glazed lobster omelette and a Sancerre would do.
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2. Bleecker Victoria
Created by lawyer-turned-burger maestro Zan Kaufman, Bleecker’s cheeseburger is, by most connoisseurs’ reckoning, the best burger in London. Why? Because it tastes almost exactly like a McDonald’s 99p cheeseburger. Except better, thanks to impeccable free-range meat sourced from Mayfair butcher Aubrey Allen. Doubling the patty? Recommended.
3. Little Bread Pedlar
London SW1V 2PD, UK
The best place to have a Little Bread Pedlar croissant shatter into its soft, buttery honeycomb layers has always been at Spa Terminus on a Saturday morning, but now there’s a new place to feel the euphoria. Open seven days a week, this Pimlico nook holds breads, pastries, and coffee from Lower Marsh’s Coleman, and is a brilliant addition to the area.
It might only be Tozi’s location that has prevented it from reaching the buzzy and glamorous heights of London’s other pasta restaurants. This is unfortunate, because Tozi is a fine Venetian proposition, bringing considered, willing, gloriously good value cicchetti and wine to match to one of London’s busiest, most in-need quarters. What Tozi supplies is perfect after work dishes; in every one is a degree of expectation but nothing overreaching. Breads from the wood oven are nicely charred and topped with cheeses, meats, roasted vegetables and other Italian crowdpleasers, while the fritti and the raw bar tick boxes happily. But it is the pasta where Tozi really delivers: dishes such as wild boar pappardelle and paccheri with octopus are transportive; the Tuscan bean soup is a stunner.
5. A. Wong
£2 at Michelin-starred A Wong will buy a pork and prawn dumpling topped with pork crackling, or a clear shrimp dumpling, which comes with the most piquant of sweet chilli sauces. Both are impeccably soft and flavourful, both an education. This restaurant is serious fun, and despite A. Wong’s comparative affordability, it’s easy to get carried away. Even the prawn crackers are enlightening. It’s worth stretching to the £108 ‘Taste of China’ menu if possible. If not, settle for a custard bun.
6. Lorne Restaurant
Lorne was much needed — its entry provides Pimlico with the modern British and European food for which everyone now yearns. Lorne does the woody, airy feel superbly well: understated, though fashionable. The food makes Lorne not just a great local restaurant, but a reason to travel: neat fish dishes — likely paired with interesting pickles, beautiful vegetables and leaves — are followed by rich, nutty and (seasonally) truffled game dishes, with Katie Exton and Peter Hall the proud owners of one of London’s gems.
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7. Cyprus Mangal
London SW1V 1QS, UK
The best Turkish Cypriot food in London is found way up in the northern clutches of the city, and this is no secret. But for whatever reason, a credible restaurant can be found in Victoria. Cyprus Mangal has an expansive menu, with cooling tabbouleh and crisp falafel; the shish kebabs are juicy and generous. But snacks such as the icli kofte, which are succulent deep-fried balls filled with lamb and onion, and imam bayildi, oven-baked aubergines sweet with tomatoes and peppers, mean Cyprus Mangal exceeds expectations.
8. La Poule Au Pot
The transportive French restaurant with candles and hanging baskets; so provincial, so literary, so risky. Except it’s not at all risky, because Le Poule au Pot nails brasserie like Nemirovsky nails prose. The braising quality of the coq au vin creates a dish that’s rich and deep, while the rabbit with mustard hums with heat, and the bourguignon is majestic. It’s easy to get swept up and order an unaffordable Pauillac, but given this is the kind of place to dine with aged, frivolous relatives, odds are someone else is footing the bill. For Francophiles, Le Poule au Pot will replenish the soul.
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‘Institution’ is a word bandied about too often in the restaurant industry but, having been around since 1982, Hunan is deserving of the label. Chef Mr Peng admits the restaurant’s name is a misnomer — while wind dried meats and double-cooked pork might appear during a meal, the food skews Taiwanese, with diners submitting to whatever the kitchen feels will suit them having indicated any dislikes and a heat tolerance. A thoroughly enchanting, singular restaurant.
Morinoya is precisely the kind of restaurant Victoria’s transitory environment needs — efficient, good-value Japanese cooking which kicks chain competitors, of which there are many in the area, into the long grass. Plentiful bento boxes are the order at lunchtime, with solid tori or tonkatsu and gyoza for dinner.
11. Chestnut Bakery
Having inherited Dominique Ansel’s former bakery space in Belgravia, Chestnut proclaims its business is “celebrating international baking traditions in the golden age of bread-making.” That translates into some inventive filled croissants with half an eye on Instagram, including a strawberry and rhubarb tart topped with a spiral of the tart stalk; a towering lemon meringue-capped croissant; and a savoury za’atar and gruyere lamination.
Morena serves decent coffee in an area that largely lacks it, with Colombian sisters Juliana and Valentina Beleno at the helm. It’s heartening to see the care that goes into selecting and roasting beans from individual coffee farms at the Eccleston Yard site, and the drinks — particularly milk-based are strong in every sense.
13. The Other Naughty Piglet
The Other Palace was one of the first of London’s newer crop of theatres to actually try and be ambitious with its food, and bringing in well-regarded Brixton restaurant The Naughty Piglet to run things has proven a savvy move over time. For a place that labels itself a “bistrot,” not a bistro, it’s actually pretty internationally minded, much like the Parisian new school: maitake mushrooms and goji berries on a beef carpaccio; roast cod in brown butter; and an XO sauce linguine with a cured egg yolk that has deservedly achieved semi-cult status.