The Cadogan Arms, Chelsea

The Cadogan Arms

Isn’t the King’s Road flashy? Let’s face it – Chelsea FC, Sloane Rangers, even Malcolm McLaren and his punk movement was a little bit on the pretentious side.

There is no denying the King’s Road is a fabulous place to shop (credit card chaperone advised). But on the food and drinks front, if not outright flashy in a Mayfair sense, it’s very well-heeled. There never seemed to be a place for a great pint, and top notch food. A gastro-pub in other words.

The Martin brothers did what they do so successfully all over London, and took hold of not one, but two spots on the road. First came The Botanist in Sloane Square, which is lovely, but more of a restaurant than a pub. More recently came The Cadogan Arms, their other spot down the far end of the Kings Road, a good old-fashioned boozer.

Spread across two floors, the 19th century pub has been lovingly restored to its former glory, and features a formidable selection of Victorian taxidermy, from bison to butterflies, otters to antlers. It’s not to my personal taste, but it adds to the overall Victorian chic ambiance, which is enhanced by the original, fully restored Victorian billiards room upstairs. I’ve never played billiards and I don’t really understand it, but the room is cool. Very cool.

The menu, courtesy of their new chef, Sam, isn’t particularly adventurous. But the flavours that came out in some of the dishes we tried, particularly the Queen scallops (with chorizo, sea spinach and hazelnut powder), and Iberico pork shoulder (with almond purée, pickled plums and pork jus) were straight out of the top drawer. The hot chocolate pudding with blood orange syrup was fine, although it was actually a chocolate fondant. (I think I was expecting more of a suet type pud.) The wine list, as in all of their places, was very good, and the service was exemplary.

The Cadogan Arms is not raucous, nor it is overly refined. If anything it’s a little bit understated, particularly given the locale. And that’s a good thing. You can’t have everywhere on the King’s Road being flashy.