The Duchy Arms
Formerly an unremarkable Kennington boozer serving up pints of Carlsberg and all-day breakfasts, The Duchy Arms has undergone a gastro makeover thanks to chef and local resident Visen Anenden. A cut above your average pub cook, Anenden has serious foodie credentials, working with Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche and as head chef to the Prince of Wales. No surprise then that meat on the one-page seasonal menu comes from Highgrove farm, alongside native fish and foraged herbs. We expected a right royal feast and weren't disappointed, kicking off with perfectly velvety chicken liver parfait and properly spiced crispy salt and pepper squid. Anenden has obvious technical skill, but his talent for infusing seemingly simple dishes with flavour really sets this cooking apart. Shetland salmon with cockles and brown shrimps offers an evocative taste of the rugged Scottish coast, while tender lamb is paired with rich smoky aubergine, salty feta and sweet grape molasses. Treats such as sticky toffee pud, artisan cheese, Sunday roasts and craft beers score further points. Smiley staff give a warm welcome, while comfortably understated decor, like a well-worn pair of brogues, is smart without trying too hard – we loved the vintage patterned plates and jolly upright piano. Outside, there's a beer garden and barbecue for summer months.