Sutton Arms, 6 Carthusian Street, EC1M 6EB; Tube: Barbican
Thursday, March 22, 2007
About 5 years ago, Sutton Arms on Carthusian Street - just round the corner from Barbican tube - used to serve lovely food, posh-gastro-pub-style in its tiny upstairs dining room. Then they changed the chef and we had one of our all-time worst meals, in an empty room with just a scowling waiter who insisted on listening to a loud talk programme on the radio. Now it's time for a third re-incarnation. The gastro bit has gone, and the menu offers a short list of traditional pub staples like burgers, sausage and mash and fish cakes -- as well as the proudly-advertised stone-baked pizzas, all for around £8ish. We ordered at the downstairs bar, where a popular pub quiz was in full swing, and carried our pints up to the quieter dining room. The pub offers a good selection of cask ales, though at over £3 a pint I think it's competing for London's most expensive ale award. The burger was very pink -- suits me fine, but the friend who'd ordered it was less happy (he's not keen to be reminded that meat=flesh, apparently). The chips were unremarkable and there was no vinegar to liven them up. The pizzas weren't bad, topped with fresh mozzarella and cherry tomatoes and (optionally) mozzarella. But equally they were nothing special - a pub up the road does much bigger ones, with more interesting toppings and for about £3 cheaper. Add in some pretty surly service, and I was left with little desire to go back -- until the next reincarnation. Except may be for the quiz.