Set in a quiet back street, for many years the Dartmouth Arms has offered a good medium between the full-on gastro of the Lord Palmerston and the more hardcore boozers of Junction Road. However, a refurbishment in the Summer of 2009 heralded a movement upwards. In came some heavily patterned flock wallpaper and the back room dispensed with the wood panelling in favour of that gastro staple 'battleship grey', now becoming a full-on dining area, only hosting events (such as the book club and quiz night) from Monday to Wednesday. On the drinks front, there is a good selection of bottled cider and three ales on the pumps, but we also overheard a number of locals bemoaning a recent change in the drinks available: indeed we noted that the excellent Aspall's has now vanished. Meanwhile food quality has suffered an unfortunate recent and serious decline; apart from our own poor meal, we saw a number of dishes being returned or only half eaten - prices aren't cheap either. Service is also a mixed bag: on a busy St Patrick's night we saw two members of the team disappear for prolonged periods, or loll about chatting to locals, while one poor lass was being run ragged. We do like it here, but recent changes have meant the overall quality has taken a turn for the worse, which is reflected in the rating decline. It also seems to a be a pub unsure which direction to take and we soon felt an overwhelming urge to toddle off to the nearby Southampton Arms.
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Reviewed by redcat
18 Mar 2010