The Fentiman Arms, London
THE FENTIMAN ARMS: LONDON
...WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT:
- The cosy atmosphere and old-school interiors
- To eat their generous, hearty comfort food
- For a beer garden that’s not on the main road
- To taste their delicious Jam roly-poly!
Being invited to review a ‘back-to-school’ themed pub five months into the school year seemed unusual, however with promises of classics such as Jam roly-poly on the menu, I was intrigued all the same.
Escaping the bustling city centre, we made our way south to Oval station. There we found ourselves meandering through Victorian backstreets to find The Fentiman Arms, which sits proudly on Fentiman Road. The exterior is especially inviting at this time of year with a soft glow illuminating the windows.
On the inside, the central wood-panelled bar takes centre stage with a mixture of seating areas around it. There is a literary theme to the pub, captured by various bookcases and cosy corner seating as well as Penguin Classics wallpaper. Upstairs lies the rather quirky Refectory Room complete with its own bar, original feature fireplaces and antler light shades. This space is ideal for private functions.
We were seated by the door and watched as tired locals reclined in comfy armchairs with beers in hands. The pub, which opened its doors recently in November 2016, offers a wide array of craft ales on tap and a dedicated gin menu to suit all tastes. The staff are attentive and clearly passionate about their work which makes the atmosphere all the more enjoyable.
As promised, the menu is full of pub classics including bangers and mash, fish and chips and cottage pie, alongside its own dedicated ‘back to school’ menu featuring bubble and squeak, honey-roast ham and jam roly poly to finish.
On this particularly brisk February night I started with my personal favourite - Bubble and Squeak. It was a generous portion and what it lacked in seasoning it made up for with a tangy hollandaise sauce.
The manager recommended we try the Chicken Kiev and upon its arrival I was pleasantly surprised by the delicacy with which it was assembled on the plate. The chicken was delightful; oozing garlic butter and covered in a crisp breadcrumb skin. Although surprised by the pairing of pumpkin and butternut squash as an accompaniment, the different textures of the pureed pumpkin and roasted squash worked well together and the sweetness complimented the dish.
For dessert - the moment I had been waiting for - we ordered Jam roly-poly and Bakewell Tart. The Bakewell Tart was somewhat disappointing as although the pastry was clearly homemade, it was too thick and overcooked. The Jam roly-poly however was exactly what I’d imagined; stodgy, sticky and delectable, served with sweet and creamy custard to finish it off.
The residents of Oval are lucky to have the Fentiman Arms as their local. It has everything you desire from a pub, including hearty comfort food, craft ales, a large beer garden and somewhere to enjoy lazy Sunday afternoons.
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Fentiman Arms.
The Fentiman Arms, 64 Fentiman Road, Oval, London, SW8 1LA