Open Mon–Sat 11am–11pm, Sun 11am–10pm
To say I was delighted to find that The Cleveland Arms had opened its doors again is, well, spot on. While W2 has no shortage of pubs, it definitely felt like something was missing when this well-established spot on Chilworth Street closed its doors to undergo a refurbishment.
‘Refurbishment’ is, in fact, putting it rather lightly. What has emerged the other side of the wait is a stellar new version of its old charming self, boasting a gleaming horseshoe bar, dining room split across two floors and an open kitchen offering a well-curated seasonal menu.
Designed by Vivienne Hayman, the name behind a number of Notting Hill establishments, including The Grocer on Elgin and The Tin Shed, the interiors feature stripped-back walls, dark wood furniture, velvet drapes and leather accents. The result is both cosy and luxurious, whilst still managing to retain some of the pub’s original features, which date back to the mid-nineteenth century.
On to the food. We started with Korean fried cauliflower (₤6), which was quite possibly the tastiest, tangiest way of serving this humble brassica that I’ve ever come across. I’ve since tried—and failed—to recreate the dish at home, and honestly it’s worth making the trip to the pub for this alone. We also opted for the Aged beef carpaccio with smoked garlic and truffle (₤14), which was as delightfully decadent as it sounds, the sweet, thin slices standing up to their punchy companions.
Up next were the mains of Cold roast shoulder of Ryland lamb with Cornish mids and girolles (₤19) and Golden beetroot & gorgonzola ravioli with spinach (₤19). With only two well-cooked accompaniments and a crisp mint dressing, the lamb dish was refreshingly (for a pub) uncluttered, letting the meat do the talking. The ravioli was also deliciously moreish.
Well into our way through a bottle of red, we simply couldn’t resist taking a peek at the pudding menu, and, sure enough, a chocolate mousse somehow found its way to the table. Chef Finlay Logan certainly succeeded in lifting this pleasingly childish dish—and our spirits, as we stumbled back out onto the streets of W2.
A scruffy boozer no longer, the Cleveland Arms is just what Paddington has been missing.