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founders arms

We have noticed The Founders Arms, a charming pub with a large outdoor area, many a time when walking along Southbank. As we were going to the Tate for a Friday Late we thought this was a perfect place to grab a bite before the exhibition. This pub is fairly new and located right next to the river opposite the Tate. It is a circular wooden building that has a wooden beer deck outside looking the water in the summer and have cheery blackboards tempting passer bys.

We walked up the wooden ramp and asked to be taken to our table. The main proportion of this pub is for drinking and there is a large bar at the side of one of the walls facing the Thames. The windows overlook Embankment and have an almost ‘goldfish looking out’ feel about it. The wooden Scandic pine, used as well inside as outside gives a light and airy feel.

We were taken to our table, which was on a platform a little higher than the main bar area which nicely separated the pub from the restaurant. We were given our menu’s by a highly tattooed lady and were given time to think. We ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and asked if it would be possible to order a starter and main course before we needed to leave for our exhibition. She confirmed that this would be possible if she made the chef aware. I thought this was a nice touch and showed care and attention form the staff.

We ordered the Mediterranean platter for one, which consisted of houmous, tzakai, olives and vegetable crudités and we also ordered smoked salmon with a lemon, dill & caper crème fraîche. The salmon came on sourdough giving it more depth with its dense oaty flavour. The denseness was cut through by the zingy light crème fraise and worked nicely. The platter came out on a wooden board and the individual dishes were served in small pots with sliced pita bread served on the side. This was simple yet nice. I would have preferred the pita grilled and the houmous lacked flavour. The vegetables were quite thinly sliced for my liking and the olives were swimming in a bowl of oil but still a dish that was nice; simple but good.

Our food was quickly taken away and a friendly overweight waiter brought out our mains along with a fresh glass of wine. He forgot to bring us our sauces and it took a long time to get his attention as he was busy serving other diners. We ordered the salmon fillet with leek and saffron sauce with crushed potatoes and roasted vine tomatoes. We asked for vegetables instead of the potatoes and this was honoured. Again nice touch. The salmon was delicious and well cooked still pink and translucent in the centre. We also ordered a beef burger with cheese and bacon. This came out stacked high with a wooden skewer holding it together. This was served on a wooden platter along with a simple garden salad. The chips were crisp and fluffy but the beef burger was pretty poor. It looked like one of those cheap value pack burgers and was overcooked, thin and tasteless. We were a little let down with this as we thought that everything on the plate was good. Very disappointing.

The Founders Arms, with its location, atmosphere and service really ticks all the boxes for a casual lunch, pub or dinner location but there were things that just didn’t hit the spot. For instance the burger itself let the whole dish down, my platter was disappointingly simple and there were too few waiters for the dinners. Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls would choose this  for lunch or for a casual drink with friends if in the near vicinity but wouldn’t go out of their way or choose The Founders Arms for a nice dinner spot.

            Food                       Atmosphere                       Service

2 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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