Editor's note: The Watermans Arms will be relaunched in September 2023 under new head chef Sam Andrews (formerly head chef of Camberwell Arms).
The Watermans Arms in Brentford is located just off the river in Brentford. It is a small, old-fashioned boozer that caters to locals, but has an unusual twist. The landlord and chef Gordon Fry is married to a Japanese lady and has lived in Japan. The menu naturally enough features standard fare like fish and chips and pies, but also a few special items of Japanese izakaya (pub) food like noodles and curries. There is even a Japanese tasting menu that can be tried provided you order it in advance.
Yakisoba noodles were accurately cooked and had good texture, the stir-fried vegetables and noodles tossed with sake and soy sauce and also with ginger and spring onions. The ginger nicely enlivened the noodles (13/20). Katsu don was pork escalope that had been breaded and deep-fried, cooked with onions and egg and a mirin and soy sauce, and served on a bed of rice. This was simple but enjoyable, the slight sweetness of the mirin working well with the pork (12/20).
Service was fine, and the bill came to £24 a head for two courses each and plenty of beer to drink. This is very good value for enjoyable, hearty, izakaya style food. The Watermans Arms is a fairly basic place, but it has a chef with ability and a sense of hospitality. I am very fond of the place, which is the antithesis of a corporate-designed chain pub.