A gastrofied pub for sure, but the Canbury Arms does offer something a little different from your regular butchers-block-tables makeover. This mostly stems from having five beers on tap (Old Hooky, Gale's ESB, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Summer Lightning and Harvey's best) - which is at least four more than your average gastro makeover. Otherwise, the layout and menu will be familiar (knives and forks on tables; a menu with such fare as 'Londoner sausage, bubble & squeak with a red wine jus. Served with or without foie gras'). If anything, the space in the pub seems more catered for diners rather than drinkers: we didn't feel forced to drink in the covered area at the side, but as most of the tables were laid for diners that seemed to be the case. Still, there's certainly an independent spirit to this one, with an attempt to lay on events (listed when we last popped in were jazz evenings, Irish music and wine tastings - thankfully not all on the same night). The only drawback with that is the broader the appeal, the less like a pub you appear (this is the first pub we've ever been to that's hosted a book reading for under 5s). Service was attentive and friendly but despite its commendable selection of beers, this one, alas, had the feeling more of a village hall than that of a pub. If you're after a place that displays its preserves on a dresser at the front door, welcome to your new favourite haunt. Just remember to mind your language in case the vicar stops by.
Reviewed by jack
30 May 2006