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Archive for March, 2010

Or rather, the boyfriend is. Last week, he suggested we visit The Canton Arms. We’d been there before, years ago, when it was just a (rather tired-looking) boozer, which we visited for a drink before heading down the road for dinner at the ever-excellent Rebato’s. It was just before Christmas, and The Canton Arms had its festive menu on display. If I remember correctly, stuffing balls and tomato soup featured, and we sucked our teeth, shook our heads and decided it would be a cold day in hell before we trusted it with our calorie supply.

Now, however, The Canton Arms has been reinvented and has a proper dining room, staff who have done time at The Eagle, The Anchor & Hope and Alistair Little, and an enthusiastic review by the good people of Dos Hermanos. It was the mention of a foie gras toasted sandwich that finally decided us: this had to be tried.

The bar was buzzing but the dining room fairly quiet on the Friday when we visited. We took our time ordering, sampling some excellent green olives and sharing the foie gras toastie (it would have been rude not to – and it is delicious in a wrong-on-so-many-levels way) before wading into our main courses. I had rabbit with chestnut mushrooms and polenta – tender, juicy and packed with wintery flavours. The boyfriend and my sister shared the cassoulet, which was above all huge. The beans were cooked to that perfect fluffy lightness which can only be described as ethereal; the top was crunchy and browned; and it contained a generous ballast of belly pork, sausages and duck.

We left full of enthusiasm and vowing that we’d be back, and feeling rather smug about being among the first to discover this local gem. Then we saw today’s Observer, and a glowing review by the totally fabulous Jay Rayner (sharing a dish intended for four between two of you is hardcore – Jay, we salute you), and were doubly smug. But let’s face it, we aren’t going to be alone in our appreciation of the Canton Arms. Even the local Labour Party people took some time out from their efforts to make the world – or at least Stockwell – a better place and stuff themselves silly with foie gras toasties. And you can’t say fairer than that.

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