This well-proportioned Victorian boozer has been revamped by the team that produced Waterloo’s Anchor & Hope and Stockwell’s Canton Arms – both of them excellent gastropubs. The de rigueur open kitchen has arrived with huge charcoal grill, and there’s a dining area at the back of the ground floor. This was a quiet spot compared to the front bar, where lots of enthusiastic imbibing was helping fuel the noise levels.
The menu is in a similarly rustic and seasonal style to the Anchor and the Canton. A blackboard listed ‘half a chopped rabbit + chopped black cabbage for two £28’, while the printed menu included ‘pork fat and scotch bonnet on toast’, and ‘ox tongue, beetroot and horseradish’ – this is food for adventurous palates.
Kid had been slow-cooked until tender, and was served layered with (soggy) crispbread and a yogurt sauce tasting of mint and chilli. Despite all the searing and spit-roasting, the best dish was a simple leek and jerusalem artichoke gratin. The spiced rhubarb cake with crème fraîche was the happiest marriage, the sweet moments outweighing the sour.
Drinks include daily-changing guest ales – Skinners Betty Stogs and Sambrook’s Junction among them. There’s also a decent wine list and well-stocked shelves of spirits, though the rowdy mob in the bar appeared to be sticking to lager-lager-lager on our visit.