“A good local pub has much in common with a church, except that a pub is warmer, and there’s more conversation,” William Blake said in one of his more lucid moments. Had the poet lived in Chelsea and not Lambeth, he might have added that a good local pub also has cooking from a two-Michelin-starred chef, espresso martinis on tap and a clientele of Premier League footballers.
This summer saw the relaunch of The Cadogan Arms as a pub that goes beyond the merely gastro. Its chef director is James Knappett, whose two-star Kitchen Table in Fitzrovia reopened in July with a £250, 20-course tasting menu. Day-to-day cooking duties fall to executive chef Alex Harper, formerly of Fulham’s Michelin-starred Harwood Arms.
Needless to say, there are no jars of pickled eggs on the dazzling stained-glass back bar. Instead, there are snacks of lamb ribs with anchovy and sorrel yoghurt to nibble on while the pork-chop main course comes from Welsh mangalitsa pigs and is accompanied by greengages and spiced jowl.