Over the weekend, the OH and I popped into The Cadogan Arms to try their new seasonal menu by their new head chef, Sam Hawkins (who came from the Bull & Last in Highgate, which I hear is very good). Intrigued to discover the pub’s new offerings, we hadn’t anticipated their new cocktail menu too.

Yes, that’s right, cocktails! I’ve always liked the espresso martinis at The Cadogan Arms but have never ventured past this reliable cocktail … until now.

On Saturday, I started with the Aperol Shrub Spritz which included aperol, kaffir lime infused Chase vodka, strawberry plum shrub, lemon and Prosecco. If you were wondering about the latest trend in bars to use vinegar in cocktails, well that’s the shrub part of this cocktail. It’s a process that involves getting the most out of the fruits and it completely works. There was no way I could detect a sense of vinegar in the complex flavours of this cocktail, which I really enjoyed.

The Cadogan ArmsSo on to the food. For my starter, I had queen scallops, chorizo with sea spinach and hazelnut powder …

The Cadogan Arms…whilst the OH enjoyed the pork knuckle and pistachio terrine with apricot chutney and scratchings.

The Cadogan ArmsAnd for main, I stayed with seafood and chose the steamed Shetland mussels with Jugged Hare pale ale, smoked bacon, garlic, leeks and  hand cut chips. For both my starter and main, what struck me the most about these dishes was the freshness of the ingredients. The flavours of the mussels really brought the sea closer to Chelsea, it was quite wonderful.

The Cadogan ArmsThe Cadogan ArmsWith both my starter and main, I enjoyed a glass of Macon Davaye. 

The Cadogan ArmsMeanwhile, the OH ordered the roast Iberico pork shoulder with almond purée, pickled plums and pork jus, which was fantastic. This dish was rich in flavour and very tasty, according to the OH who also remarked upon the quality of the meat.

The Cadogan ArmsI had every intention of not ordering dessert. After all, I had sworn myself off sugar. But I was also intrigued by the popcorn démode cocktail that was new on the menu. The ingredients for this cocktail included popcorn infused Buillet Bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino, sugar and Peychaud’s Bitters …

The Cadogan Arms… which I had with the hot chocolate pudding, blood orange syrup and mascarpone. Oh yes, I was going for it!

The Cadogan ArmsAs for the OH, he ordered an espresso martini which was matched to accompany a selection of ice creams on the dessert menu.

The Cadogan ArmsThe OH requested two scoops of burnt honey with thyme and one scoop of salted caramel. I didn’t taste the latter but the burnt honey with thyme was a real delight to try. I loved the thyme element especially.

The Cadogan ArmsOverall, it was a fantastic meal. The pub was packed with a mixed crowd and there was even a conversation about how The Cadogan Arms has changed over the years. Thinking back to my teen years, this pub has come a long way and I really like the direction it’s heading in.

Good work with the new menu, Sam!

The Cadogan Arms, 298 King’s Road, London, SW3 5UG. 0207 352 6500.

Disclaimer: The meal was complimentary for the purpose of the review. This didn’t sway my opinion in any way. The busy dining room was testimony to the pub’s delicious offerings.

So the longest month of the year is over – or so it felt like it. And now it’s time to get on with 2013, forget about Dry January (if you bothered) and look forward to this being the last month of winter (officially). To help you along, here are my top 5 don’t miss tips for February 2013:

1. It’s the Super Bowl on Sunday and most of us are probably talking about Beyoncé’s much anticipated performance rather than the game. Either way, if you are planning on having a Super Bowl party then consider heading down to Bodean’s BBQ to pick up their marinated meat which are vat packed and therefore easy to cook. Here are the instructions to give you an idea.

Bodean's BBQ Window

Unfortunately Bodean’s Super Bowl party has sold out so this would be the next best thing if you do love their tasty ribs. And if you haven’t tried them yet, here’s my review from the other night.

2. Paris concept store, The Space, is coming to Austique on the King’s Road for one week only over London Fashion Week, from 14th until 21st February 2013.

The Space is a creative hub which hosts emerging Parisian designers, cutting edge fashion labels and international artists and like Austique stocks labels such as Zimmermann, Austique, Cheek Frills and Madeleine Thompson. They will also be showcasing a selection of SS13 collections, which include Parker, Camilla & Marc and lifestyle brands such as Twins for Peace, Claus Porto and Nina Peter.

Austique

3. Donna Ida’s current sale is ending on Monday 4th February 2013 with a serious bang! That is to say, 75% off with an extra 20% off. Just make sure you enter SPECIAL20 at the checkout.

Click here to find out which items are in the clearance sale.

Donna Ida Clearance Sale

4. Whatever you do, don’t miss the ‘Debbie Harry Queen of Punk: Portraits by Brian Aris’ exhibition at Proud Chelsea. It ends on 17th February 2013 and you can read my review as well as watch a couple of Blondie music videos here.

Debbie Harry

5. Don’t Miss The Hollywood Arms’ February movie calendar. With free entry and free popcorn, the films include: The Tourist, The Other Boleyn Girl, When Harry Met Sally and Greenburg. The Hollywood Arms are also introducing a monthly film club which kicks off on 11th February at 7.30pm with Senna.

Hollywood Arms

If you haven’t been upstairs at The Hollywood Arms, here is a photo of the room. It’s a great venue and you can order food as well as drinks there.

Hollywood Arms - Pub

If you’re planning on spending Christmas Day in Chelsea but would rather avoid all the preparation and clearing up that goes along with organising Christmas lunch. And if you would rather head down to the pub, The Builders Arms and The Chelsea Ram will both be open on Christmas Day.

You might have already read my posts on The Builders Arms and The Chelsea Ram, so here’s a sneak peek of their Christmas menus …

Chelsea Ram

Builders Arms

And if you’d like further information or to book yourself a table, go to Geronimo Inns’ website.

Enjoy! x

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”

  Edith Sitwell

The Builders Arms is one of my favourite pubs in Chelsea. It sits on one side of St. Luke’s Gardens whilst my first school sits on the other side. And for me, it is the perfect wintry pub in London. Nestled on a back street behind the King’s Road, this pub feels like a home away from home. It’s cosy and serves up good hearty meals as well as fine wines.

Last week’s bloggers’ food and wine matching evening was a celebration of what works so well for The Builders Arms. With the wine being selected by Ellis of Richmond and the menu carefully prepared by the pub’s fabulous chef, I was finally ready to settle into the mood of winter feasting.

The menu included …

Quail “Hindle Wake” matched with Roaring Meg Pinot Gris 2011, Central Otago, NZ

Brandade of Salt Cod & Potato matched with Gavi di Gavi’ Ca do Bosio Single Vineyard’ 2011 Piedmont, Italy

Roast Saddle of Mutton Stuffed with Sweets Breads, Seared Giroles, Dripping Scones & Pan Gravy Watercress Salad matched with Tinto Roble Tempranillo, Bodega Vina Vilano 2011 Ribera del Duero, Spain and Sangiovese Cabernet, Ripa delle Mandorle 2011, Tuscany, Italy

And finally …

Eccles Cake, Shorrocks Lancashire Bomb matched with Muscat Beaumes de Venise, Vidal Fleury, France

Who would have thought that you could match an Eccles cake with a slice of cheese but it does absolutely work. Admittedly, it crossed my mind that a large slice of ice cream was on the plate instead of the Lancashire Bomb but I discovered soon enough that Eccles cake and cheese was in fact a delightful pairing – and quite moreish! 

Whilst we were sipping, scoffing and chatting away that night, Geronimo Inns also won Pub Company of the Year at the R200 Awards. *Cheers guys and congratulations!*

Another great excuse to pop into The Builders Arms is to take time out from shopping on the King’s Road. I, for one, love escaping there – as much as I love the hibernating feeling of being holed up in a pub with a glass of red and some good pub grub on a winter’s evening. True winter bliss!

13 Britten Street, Chelsea, London SW3 3TY. 020 7349 9040.

I am so late to the party with this one, mainly due to my own laziness. Anything over any bridge takes a bit of effort, even if it is merely a hump on the King’s Road. But thank goodness I finally managed to wrench myself from my safety zone and venture to The Sands End pub on Stephendale Road, because what lay in store for me was easily worth a trip out of town!

The occasion was the bf’s birthday lunch: a casual affair with a dozen or so friends. When we arrived, one by one, the pub was already filling up. And the buzz of the locals in a place so off the beaten track felt quite exciting.

As we waited for our friends to arrive, the menu posed a slight challenge. What was I going to order when all I wanted to try was their Scotch Egg?

Eventually our friends started to arrive and we were ready to order. I skipped my starter but snapped a few pics of those which arrived at the table. I also tasted a few and I can readily say that they had surpassed any level of expectation from everyone who tried them.

I was particularly worried about a real foodie friend who isn’t what I would call fussy but he does like his food to be good, like we all do. And he is particularly vocal and eloquent about the food he tastes. When he tried his ceviche dish, he nodded with approval and I knew then that we were going to be in for a delicious afternoon.

So what did the others have for their starters?

Eel

Steak Tartare

Ceviche

Soup

For main, I ordered the Roast Pork …

Whilst others ordered the Roast Beef …

And for dessert, I had the chocolate fondant …

As drinks flowed and everyone enjoyed their dishes – me definitely! – I did wonder why I hadn’t been here before (laziness aside).

Eventually, afternoon became early evening and we moved off the table and headed outside to let the staff prepare the table for the evening sitting.

Outside, we ordered more drinks and as time went by, I couldn’t resist anymore. I had to taste The Sands End’s Scotch Egg!

And what a treat! I’d never tasted anything like it before. The egg was beyond light. It was almost sublime whilst encased in a coat of crispiness. Such sensations.

Somebody ordered a sausage roll, which I didn’t try but it did look very tasty too.

Finally, we left and walked back towards the King’s Road. In fact, the walk was ideal and made the whole afternoon almost guilt-free, so much so that I’ll be heading back soon again!

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