Dartmouth Arms, Forest Hill
Once a struggling Courage pub, this one's been taken firmly down the gastro road and has benefited for it - it's now wallpapered and gastro-green and when we were in last, the food smelled fantastic. Perhaps surprisingly, it still feels like a pub, albeit a 21st century version with stripped floors, comfy sofas, decent beer and from the smells, great food. Three real ales on the taps always indicates to us they know how to keep the beer - anything less tends to be a token presence. Three defined spaces break it up and rescue it a bit from the problems you get with all those hard surfaces. The area at the back tends to be set for dining, at least at lunchtime, but we found a place to sit in the other areas with little trouble. Friendly staff were the finish touch for us and we're already planning a return trip, preferably when it's sunnier and warmer to make use of the beer garden out the back. You could do a lot worse around here so give it a go.
06 Feb 2013
Terrible food, even worse service. Was served kedgeree with an awful creamy sauce, when we complained the manager told us that we were wrong and there was no problem with the food and she refused to take the dish off the bill! I only went there as Canvas and Cream don't serve food on a Tuesday and I really wish I wouldn't have bothered
15 Jan 2012
Went to The Dartmouth Arms today for lunch. Have been numerous times with coleagues, work clients and family and always had a good Sunday roast. However, today I bought my friend a birthday cake and put in on the table with a gift for when she arrived at the pub. (I had no intention of eating it on the premises) I was advised that this was not acceptable. When I explained that I would not light the candles or sing Happy Birthday I was told that its still not allowed as they didnt want to encourage other people to do the same. This is the strangest rule ive come across so would strongly advise against going to this pub if you want to celebrate a birthday. I must add that near then end of our meal a large group had a dessert with a candle delivered to their table with candles alight and all sung Happy Birthday. When I enquired why they were allowed to do this I was told its because they had a larger party. I was so angry and if it wasnt for the fact that it was my friends birthday and I didnt want to ruin the event I would have taken my custom elsewhere.....as I will be doing in the future.
07 Apr 2010
This pub is pretty cool. In an understated way. The decor is in the well-established 'reclaimed old pub' style, with stripped floors and trendy wallpaper, but it does it well and calmly suits the three areas, plus small outside space. In an area where culinary standards are low, and virtually no alternatives for decent eating and drinking exist, this pub would not need to try very hard to be considered above average. However there's something a bit special happening in the kitchen and the food offer, whilst not cheap, is definitely above average. This makes the pub more gastro than boozer. Friendly young staff, mixed, friendly local clientele, this pub is often busy, but never loud and crowded. The location is poor - you'll seldom hear 'yes we're out in Forest Hill tonight', but all the ingredients are here for having a nice time. It's pleasantly 'what-you-make-of-it': you can take your mother-in-law here for lunch, or have a hot date, or meet your mates, or bring small children. Not sure if the ambience has been masterminded or it's by accident, but either way it works. All things considered, this pub is not so very far off a high score. It deserves to do well, and warrants a 4-pint rating.
7 Dartmouth Road, Forest Hill, London, SE23 3HN
020 8488 3117
How to get there
Door-to-door journey planner
How to find the Dartmouth Arms pub
From Forest Hill BR station, leave via the ticket office exit. Turn left and keep walking - you'll soon see it.