As readers of this blog and our friends would know, since moving ‘south’ towards Elephant & Castle we’ve been making huge use of the local, rare gems (for eample coffee shops).
One such gems is a gastro pub (is such definition still even valid?) literally around two corners from our flat called the Albert Arms. Not sure why it took us a couple of months before we decided to ‘give it a go’ and walked in for an early weekend lunch.
A local gem
Since then, we’re there pretty much once a week, usually for an early lunch or brunch, occasionally for an evening meal and we even hosted baby O’s first birthday party. From our first visit, Darren, Sonata and their team have been making us feel very welcome.
Darren and Phil are what makes the Albert Arms a place you experience, not just a place you visit.
Having transformed a back street boozer into one of W1’s most beloved gastropubs, Darren and Phil (the chef) saw an opportunity to take a penchant for great food, great drinks and great friends to the heart of SE1. After an overhaul of biblical proportions which had the locals chomping at the bit to get back inside, this charming Victorian pub is now back in action.
The venue is a period building on a corner between two small streets tucked away behind busy London road (and technically on Gladstone Street). After the renovation, it is now a stylish ‘local’ with two dining rooms on the ground floor, another one upstairs (that can be hired for private events) and a small back garden which is extremely pleasant now that the weather has finally turned warm.
Quirky punk / street style art pieces adorn the walls and the music playing is right up our streets, from 70s rock to 90s grunge.
We’ve visited countless times now, we’ve tried dishes, drinks and made a mess when feeding our little one. He loves to run behind the bar and Amber is always welcome too, we feel totally at home each time we drop by even if for just a coffee.
Mostly we come down when the place is quiet, just after opening (11am for brunch on Saturdays, 12pm for roast on Sundays), it’s usually packed by the time we leave, and during early evening can get very busy so is recommended to book a table for dining.
What we think of the food
Among the dishes we highlight, their roasts. The menu changes regularly but husband is partial to their lamb, succulent, tender and falling apart; the Yorkshire puds are huge and crispy and buttery, they veggies are roasted and flavoursome. The roast vegetarian options are always changing and very valid too, so much that I usually opt for them.
The brunch menu is great too and my wish would be that they served it on Sundays too! I love their soft shell crab benedict (beautifully crispy crab on a soft cheesey muffin with spinach and freshly made hollandaise sriracha); their avo on toast with roast tomatoes is a solid alternative, with a great sourdough bread to support the veggies and the fried or poached egg.
Not sure why, but I still have to try their 3 cheese toasties with fried egg, while their Shakshuka is also available for dinner and really good too. They use Clarence Court Burford Browns eggs, which is somehow a guarantee.
For dinner, loads of good dishes too. Some ‘fixed’ staples (such as their cold cuts board, served with a mouthwatering celeriac remoulade, spicy and mustardy); the Grilled halloumi salad is refreshing too with a brightly coloured beetroot hummous to accompany the salty, chewy cheese. If I want something lighter, I opt for their Dressed crab on toast, while @bmcboy usually goes for Fish & Chips.
Pudding? oh yes please. One of their classics is Sticky Toffee pudding with ice cream, which is decadently gooey, the sponge light but bursting with flavour. The other desserts change seasonally, and are always just as good. Check out the recipe of the raw, vegan date brownie Phil made for our little one first birthday.
Of course, it’s a pub! Their wine list is good too, they serve chilled prosecco at reasonable prices and very good coffee too (by the Borough Coffee). Loads of craft beers as well.
What can I say? I will miss being so close to the Albert Arms when we move back to Waterloo. Yet I am pretty sure we’ll be visiting just as often, we’re hooked now! They are sustainable (fish is day boat, meat is ethically reared and British, produce are locally sourced as much as possible, they recycle their waste and raise funds for charities via their water bottles (£1 charge, to rotating charities). Finally, they are dog friendly. So for us, the whole thing is just perfect.