London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Builders Arms


Good gastropubs are hard to find. Every bar in town serves food to varying degrees of quality and seeking out the very best takes a lot of effort. Looking for something a little more exciting than the average fish-and-chips-and-burgers menu, we discovered The Builders Arms. Just a stones throw from the Kings Road, The Builders Arms is a pub that prides itself on providing the highest quality food and wines and a cut above the grub in your average boozer.

The menu we ate from on our visit was one  inspired by the chef's Lancashire roots, with elements of morth-west cuisine running through many of the courses. Our starter was quail "Hindle Wake", a modern take on a traditional dish of the region, with the legs and breast of the bird stuffed with prunes and covered with a jelly compote. Served cold from the fridge, the sweetness of the prunes and richness of the quail combined for a powerful flavour combination.

Next, we tried the brandade of salt cod and potato (brandade refers to the method of poaching the fish in cream, which was then mixed with mashed potato and served within the baked potato skin) and was our favourite dish of the meal. The delicate buttery flavour of the fish was a treat and the perfect warming winter dish. The presentation inside the potato skin was a joy too, with the course looking as good as it tasted.

After this came the main course; a roast saddle of mutton, stuffed with sweetbreads. The mutton was delicately seasoned and gently roasted, giving us a fully flavoured taste sensation which combined impeccably with the seared girolle mushrooms, Lancashire scone and gravy. The  sweetbread however were not to our particular taste. Many people consider them a delicacy but in our opinion, the offal should be thrown away, not served as a side dish.

Much more to our liking was the dessert of Eccles cake and Lancashire Bomb cheese. The Eccles cake was like a giant mince pie, a large pastry disc stuffed with sweet mincemeat getting us into the festive spirit. The cheese was creamy and strong and the perfect way to round off a fantastic dinner.

With food this good, it's no surprise that Geronimo Inns won 'Pub Company of the Year' at the R200 awards last week. It's clear that thought and imagination have been put into the menu at The Builders Arms and seems that they are almost as excited about the food they produce as we are to eat it. A pub this close to the King's Road has to work hard to distinguish itself but the outcome is rewarding indeed as the venue was packed during our visit. With great food and perfect service, The Builders Arms is a real treat.

13 Britten Street, SW3 3TY

Average price for main course: £15
Average price for glass of wine: £5.50
Food/Drink: 5/5
Value: 4/5
Service: 5/5

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