The story goes that 15 years ago, before the Canton Arms became one of south London’s bastions of pub food, this boozer was so shady you could quite easily rent a gun off one of the drinkers without anyone blinking an eyelid.
Nowadays the closest thing you’ll find to an arsenal at this marvellous Stockwell pub is the culinary weaponry of gastropub royalty Trish Hilferty (formerly of both the Eagle in Clerkenwell and the Anchor & Hope in Waterloo) and her equally talented protégé Rory Shannon.
Located in between Stockwell and Clapham North tube stations, the Canton Arms retains all the charm of an old fashioned pub with a large bar top offering a selection of cask ales on one side and a spacious dining room on the other.
The menu balances excellent value (£7-9 starters, £14-36 mains plus blackboard specials) with interesting, deceptively simple dishes – think skate, Jerusalem artichoke and radicchio or seven hour shoulder of salt marsh lamb – which has won the pub a Michelin Bib Gourmand.
This is not cooking that is designed to be either too complex or wholesome, simply a happy medium where the only winner is the guest.
The wine list is dominated by France and Italy with a number of biodynamic and organic options. Weekly guest ales are available on draft.
Ox heart pastrami ‘Reuben’, buttermilk bun and dill pickle; Slow cooked curried English octopus on toast, coriander; Swaledale lamb ragu, Pane carasau and gremolata