Of all the iconic pubs in the area, the Dartmouth Arms remains something of a hidden gem; perhaps because of its location in the valley of York Rise, or the fact that some other local pubs shout louder.
And yet its stylish interior is one of NW5’s most elegant, while the top-level food offer is the result of owners Disappearing Dining Club, the food-and-drink duo of founder Stuart Langley and Swedish head chef Fredrik Bolin, who’ve hosted award-winning pop-ups across the capital for well over a decade.
Their aim since taking the mid-19th century boozer back in 2018 was simply to create a new kind of community focus, built around a love of proper cooking, tasty drinks and quality sounds. Then came bloody Covid – and we all know what happened there – but fast forward now to July 2022 and it’s back to a thriving local.
This month, to celebrate the height of glorious summer, the boys are hosting a series of dining events with California Wines. “To think of California, we think of its landscape,” says Stuart, “lush green fertile valleys, arid deserts, epic coastal roads, and LA-style urban sprawl. Our California-inspired menu aims to nod to each of those landscapes, and the kinds of cooking and ingredients we would hope to enjoy on a wine trip around the state.”
California Nights includes, on arrival, a West Coast Cooler cocktail (Californian Sauvignon, Vodka, Fresh Lemon, Soda), and then four Californian wine-paired courses. Pre-starters include either the Crispy Shiitake Roll (v), Avocado Salsa, Wasabi Mayo OR Crab & Cucumber Roll, Avocado Salsa, Tomato Consomme; starters the Grilled Asparagus (v), Fermented Spring Greens, Grain Mustard OR Grilled Salted Ox Tongue, fermented Spring Greens, Grain Mustard.
Mains include Grilled King Oyster Mushroom (v), Truffle & Carrot Purêe, Pickled Cabbage OR Butter Poached Chicken, Smoked Chicken Sausage, Truffle & Carrot Purêe. Dessert is Lime & White Chocolate Cheesecake, Poached Rhubarb, Oat Crumble. Mouth watering yet?
And then there’s the small matter of the Californian Wines. Those paired include Marimar Estate Albariño, Wente Vineyards Morning Fog Chardonnay and Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir, with a delicious Californian Negroni (super-trendy Californian gin, Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir and Campari) to accompany dessert. The cost – including 4 courses, wines and cocktails – is just £45 per person.
As if that’s not delectable enough, dinner will be accompanied by a soundtrack of Californian Soul, LA jazz, and lazy, sun-drenched rock & roll on the Dartmouth Arm’s music system (see pic above): a thing of beauty, vintage audio equipment brings an extra special music lover’s dimension to the pub, ideal for people who like the crackle of vinyl, the warmth of Hi-Fi and the sound of other people’s record collections.
As Stuart says, glass of chilled crisp Albariño in hand, “Come and join the tour.”