Its always with interest that I visit either a pub under new ownership or a sister pub of an old favourite. The Canton Arms ticks both boxes.
As the old incarnation closed talk at the time was whether the Canton would succumb to development and be lost permanently. Thankfully it has reopened and joins the Anchor and Hope in Southwark (and the Great Queen Street in Covent Garden). A&H keeps me coming back for the impeccable food and service. Its a destination to eat but not solely drink. The initial thought for me was whether South Lambeth Road could sustain an A&H carbon copy and in fact whether it needs one. The pub retains its features and is only marginally changed. Logical as why spend thousands on a refurb when the booze and food should do the talking.
My first visit was on a Saturday afternoon. The rugby was on, with a few punters sat reading the paper and glancing up to catch the pre match build up. The staff greeted me like a regular, which I am sure I will become, and is always a reason to come back.. Two weeks later and I have since been back three times to both eat and drink. The food was good the first time, a Saturday afternoon Pork Belly sandwich (though I eyed Captain English's Arbroath Smokey with envy) and excellent the second. St Patricks day and not a Guinness felt hat in sight . The foie gras toastie has so far eluded me but one day soon will be mine (Jay Raynor's comment in The Observer should not be missed). The beer selection is good with a decent selection, Hobgoblin Wychwood and Triple B being notable highlights.
The Canton Arms for me surpasses its older well established sibling. It has everything I love about A&H but added to that is a destination for an excellent beer, a catch up with friends (the Captain and Meister living close by) and the promise of the foie gras toastie should I feel the need.