Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Fentiman Arms

God bless Forrest Gump. Of all the movies I saw when I was a child, Forrest Gump is one of the most beloved. Let's see - you had the quirky love story, the simple outlook on life, but best of all, you had the one liners. What could be more true than 'Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get'? Nothing.

That saying gets to the heart of why I love eating, writing and thinking about food - because you never know what you are going to get. The first time you try a new recipe, or a newly discovered restaurant, there's that frission of excitement... Is this going to be the best dish of your life? Or is it going to leave you wishing you'd stayed at home with a bowl of rice krispies? Only time and your tastebuds can tell. And there is nothing better than when it all comes together and works - which is exactly what happened at The Fentiman Arms last week.

I can't say I've ever thought of the area surrounding The Oval as the gastronomic destination du jour. There are a few gastropubs, normal pubs and local restaurants but, for the most part, it is a local area for local people. This is probably why The Fentiman Arms has stayed off the radar for so long, those selfish people in Vauxhall decided that they didnt want to share. Tough luck cookies, it's been found and has been firmly placed on beacon alert.

The equation is simple - food comes in the form of lip smackingly tempting dishes such as Ham hock terrine with homemade picallili, lamb skewers with garlic, slow roasted lamb with potato dauphinoise and braised red cabbage. Prices are decent and extremely good value for money considering that the portions are on the gargantuan side of things. The wine list too is comprehensive enough to satisfy all but the most pernickity of oenophiles and covers a range of prices.

Next time I'm planning to have a three course meal there, I might consider cracking out the old stomach stretching exercises a few hours in advance. This time I barely made it to the dessert, which was a perfectly flirty little poached spiced pear with vanilla ice cream. As for Natalie's chocolate brownie with hazlenut and chocolate ice cream, well the picture says it all really...

Finally add the soupcon of pretty brilliant staff, who it turns out I met months ago in a random jaunt to Bar 55 in Camden and there you have it, the best possible total of the never know what you are going to get equation.

Waiting rating: Best we’ve come across in a long time, friendly, quick and chatty - definitely helped make the evening so fun
Scoffing potential: Astronomical, I dare you not to try
Wallet buddy: Standard – portions are huge too
The crowd: As it was mid World Cup there were the obligatory footie fans dotted around, locals hanging out on the outdoors terrace with a cold bevvie

64 Fentiman Road
Oval,SW8 1LA
020 7793 9796