The Cadogan Arms is a Victorian pub now run by the Martin Brothers, who are responsible for the Botanist and The Gun. The dining area is in a separate section form the main bar area, and there is a pool room upstairs. The dining room has many stuffed animal heads on the walls (foxes, a rabbit and a large bison) as well as assorted fish mounted in cabinets. There are no tablecloths, and there is a wooden floor. The menu reads as a fairly standard pub one, until you notice a greater care over sourcing than is usual e.g. Dexter beef, line-caught sea bass.
The pleasant wine list has choices such as Icely Road Chardonnay 2006 for £28 compared to a shop price of around £9, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc £45 for a wine that costs about £16 to buy these days, and Wairu River Pinot Noir 2006 at £33 for a wine that will set you back around £14 in the shops. This being Chelsea, there is also Dom Perignon 2000 available for £150, which is actually pretty fair given that this costs around £88 these days retail.
Bread is apparent made from scratch, though I found the single choice of rosemary foccacia rather dry, and could have had more rosemary (3/10). I began with Dexter beef carpaccio (£6.50), which had excellent flavour. This was served with a simple rocket salad with horseradish dressing and a little shaved Parmesan. The dressing was not dominant, the leaves fresh, the beef carefully prepared (5/10). Dorset crab bisque (£6) had a rather grainy texture but plenty of crab flavour and was well seasoned, though the “aioli” with it was really crème fraiche that had just a hint of garlic flavour, and could have been more robust (3/10).
Line-caught sea bass (£20.50) had very good flavour and was carefully cooked, served with properly cooked fine beans and reasonable crushed potatoes and sliced tomatoes (4/10). My Devonshire Bronze chicken (£14.95) was cooked just right, moist and tender, and had very good flavour compared to most chicken that you are likely to encounter in England. This was served with good roast potatoes, bread sauce, al dente mange touts, and a thick red wine sauce made from the cooking juices (5/10). A lemon cheesecake was less impressive than the savoury dishes, lacking lemon and having a saltiness which didn’t work well in this case (3/10).
Service was friendly and the dishes arrived at a steady pace. Overall this was a very impressive meal, with good ingredients treated well. I will very happily return.