London – Pimlico – Cask Pub and Kitchen

This was one of the nearest Good Beer Guide listed pubs near to Tate Britain, where I had meandered around all morning, so since it was not just in the book, but also a past winner of the South West London CAMRA pub of the year, it seemed a sensible choice for lunch.

I got there just after 12:00 and had expected it to be busier, but I was the first customer of the day. It did get a little busier, but the landlord mentioned that their trade was down at the moment, a consequence of the health situation and fewer people travelling into London. I won’t repeat how much down trade is, as I’m sure he doesn’t want that shared everywhere, but it certainly sounds a challenging position to be in.

Some of the beers that were available and the staff member seemed knowledgeable and keen to engage. Indeed, he was very customer service driven and was warm and personable, making everyone feel welcome I thought. I like it when staff are able to welcome customers, talk to them and then say goodbye when they’re leaving, it’s not done by a high number of pubs.

The rest of the beer selection, quite an impressive range given that their customer numbers are down and it must be challenging to try and keep up this many options. There’s also a series of fridges behind the bar with cans and bottles, as well as another fridge to the left of the bar. There were some tempting more expensive options, indeed many temptations, but I didn’t feel the need to spend a large sum on one drink.

I like the modern design, it sits surprisingly well with everything else.

My preferred beer option had just sold out, so these are half a pint of Pump Up the Jam from the ever wonderful Tiny Rebel Brewery, and half a pint of the Fellowship from Redemption Brewing. My camera has distorted the size a little, but they are both half-pints. Both were well-kept, at the appropriate temperature and served in clean glasses. The Pump Up the Jam had its usual sweet flavour and authentic taste of doughnut, which is a winner as far as I’m concerned. The Fellowship was better than I had anticipated, quite a strong taste of liquorice and some chocolate in there as well.

My camera has again distorted the size of this, the portion of chips was very generous and the burger was larger than it looks here. I’m not really one for chips, I’m more a fries person, but these were exceptional and I can see why the pub has become renowned for them. Firm on the exterior, fluffy on the interior and having a richness of taste and flavour, very moreish. The burger seemed to have been made with some quality beef as it had a meaty flavour and was appropriately juicy. I was less sure about the brioche bun as it got a little moist from the juices of the burger and disintegrated a little, but overall, this was way above what I expected.

Thanks to the Government, I got the food half-price as part of the eat out to help out scheme, so the burger was reduced from £12 to £6 and the two beers cost around £5.25 between them. And, as another little bonus, the £5 Amex Shop Small credit then kicked in, making the total come to £6.25 for the burger and two drinks. A bargain. Incidentally, the concept of specialising in just one type of food, in this case burgers, is a sound one as far as I’m concerned and it’s one that more pubs should do.

There’s a modern design to the interior of the pub, but the stairs down to the toilets have been adorned with some old enamel signs.

They haven’t got many negative reviews, but some of the ones that they have got are ridiculous. One reads:

“With the amount of competition in the area I’d expect them to be doing much more… The bar stocked 10 Cask ales that I wouldn’t touch if they paid me, with the amount of custom they have and the lack of attention the staff pay I can’t imagine the beer being up to standards. Highly disappointing visit, I hope the management see this and it helps them moving forward.”

How the bloody hell does that help the pub move forwards? One of the best beer selections in the area and a review seemingly from someone who doesn’t like craft beer (they ordered a lime and soda and complained about the price) and so it’s slightly confusing why they ever went in there. Anyway, it takes all sorts.

I very much liked this pub, which was one of the first craft only bars in London. It had a sense of self-confidence to it, but not any arrogance and it was keenly priced and remained on-trend. Perhaps there are now more fashionable places to go in London, but this is still a pub offering some decent choices of beer and a food menu which is focused on just one food, all with a friendly customer service ethic.