Sunday, 14 March 2010

Cadogan Arms

298 King's Road,

020 7 352 6500

Its like a faux Edwardian hunting lodge inside with antlers on the walls and wooden panelling. Only this is a lodge for all sports. There are also fish in cabinets, the stuffed head of a fox. There are red upholstered benches in the style of the House of Lords. There are also other strange touches: an unplastered brick pillar, a panel of hispano moresque tiles on the wall. I like it. The hunting lodge theme only slightly off and hip all at the same time is fun. King Edward VII would have felt very much at home here, only he wouldn't. He would have been confused by the eastern European accent of our waitress for starters and would have been surprised the pillar was unfinished. He would have found the bar billiard sized tables upstairs much smaller than those to which he was accustomed. Its a big space and light with big windows looking out onto Old Church Street on one side and the King's road in front. The restaurant area is at the back and although its a 'gastro pub' its really, like the Harwood Arms, more restaurant than pub. There is no ordering at the bar and paying before the meal here.

We order one course: twice cooked Gloucester Old Spot pork belly, wilted spring greens, Calvados sauce, celeriac remoulade £16.50 and Hare stew, prune dumpling £15.50. The pork belly is marvellous: the pork is crispy and contrasts well with the crunchy texture of the celeriac. The apple in the sauce and the fresh greens make the whole a perfect combination. I try the rich hare stew which is thick gooey and full of flavour, the dumpling again an excellent texture contrast with real taste. We have a glass of Malbec and Shiraz each which go well with this quite heavy meaty meal for all its delicate flavours.

This pub is operated by ETM group which was founded by the Martin Brothers in 2000 and now has 8 pubs in and around London. This is impressive stuff for a group. Let's hope the standard doesn't fall off if they continue to expand!

My only criticism is for lunch the main courses offered, apart from a blue Wensleydale and pear salad, are all quite heavyweight. Maybe that's why it really wasn't as full on a Friday lunchtime as the very high standard might suggest it should be. A few more lighter choices for those who don't want to retire to the well upholstered sofa with a cigar for the rest of the afternoon would be welcome!

The Cadogan Arms on Urbanspoon

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