The Colton Arms comes courtesy of Hippo Inns, a gastropub operator co-owned by Rupert Clevely, who founded Geronimo Inns in the 1990s. Clevely has always had an acute eye for sites with potential, design and wholesome cooking, and so it proves at what was a neglected West Ken boozer where a dramatic makeover has won over the smart clientele of local gentrification.
This pint-sized pub is tucked just behind Queens Tennis Club, and the quirky interiors include carved wooden panels, stuffed birds, antique and modern paintings, leather seats and rich textiles, masses of flowers and glass doors leading to a sheltered garden.
The small menu is centred around creative comfort food and features starters such as bubble and squeak with a poached egg, crispy bacon, black pudding and hollandaise or a classic chicken liver parfait with pickles and chutney. Mains include proper pub grub favourites like fish and chips as well as steak with peppercorn sauce. The house special burger is topped with cheese, bacon, homemade burger sauce, red onion marmalade and sill-scented pickles, and is accompanied by crispy fries. Vegans are also catered for with a plant-based version that even features vegan cheese and meat-free ‘bacon’. There’s sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownies or ice cream for pudding, or if you prefer, choose to tuck into a Great British farmhouse cheeseboard with crackers and chutney. Drink beer or lager, wine or the hard stuff – or builder’s tea that comes in a sweetly decorated pot.
If you’re looking to celebrate something special, then you could always hire out one of the private rooms. The petite garden is available to rent on an exclusive basis and makes a wonderful place to gather come summer. At other times of the year The Raquet Room is perfect for bringing together friends and family or colleagues for a cosy pub lunch or dinner with menus that can be tailored to your preferences.