The Camberwell Arms in south London has announced a new partnership — one with Frank Boxer, brother of Brunswick House and Chess Club’s Jackson, and creator of Peckham’s Frank’s Cafe (aka Campari Bar.) This news comes as the pub and restaurant has parted ways with the previous ownership, the group behind four of London’s other most well-respected gastropubs and British restaurants — The Anchor & Hope, the Canton Arms, Great Queen Street and The Magdalen Arms.
Having set up Frank’s (a rooftop bar which operates throughout the summer) with Boxer nine years ago, Michael Davies, chef director of the Camberwell Arms, has reciprocated, as he is joined in partnership by the duo behind Frank’s — Boxer and James Dye.
What’s new? The team at Frank’s say they “are reluctant to change a winning formula. The Camberwell Arms has long been our favourite restaurant in London, with Michael’s food at the core of what makes it such a special place to eat. Instead of a complete overhaul we have made a few subtle changes to the space focussed on improving the ambience of the bar and dining room.”
The partners say that they’ve also made some changes to the upstairs rooms: “We’ve also transformed one of the grand rooms above the pub into a private dining room, appropriate for parties of up to 40 guests, just in time for Christmas.” In the new year a new, upstairs bar above the pub, serving classic drinks and playing classic records, will launch, as well as an off-site catering arm of the restaurant for parties large or small. They say details of both will be announced in January.
The Camberwell Arms is perhaps best known for its Sunday Lunch (winner of a number of awards and given a prestigious place in this guide, pre Eater London launch), but they say “their menu goes far further.” Snacks, small plates and sharing dishes are determined not by a voguish need to change every day or every week, but by the produce Davies likes and the “tastes and flavours he really fancies eating at that time of year.” Eschewing taxidermy and roaring fires, this is a restaurant first, on the premises of a pub; not a pub hamstrung by the gastro-diktats that gave birth to a generation of blonde wood venues ‘specialising’ in beetroot and goats cheese tarts. Its evolution is worth observing.