Spotlight, 22 July 2022
We wanted to wish The Cadogan Arms a very happy first birthday. Keeping us exceptionally well-fed and watered, one of Chelsea’s favourite locals is more than just a humble pub and if you haven’t discovered it yet, well, why not!?
And in celebration of the first milestone, we spent five minutes with the man behind it all, Dom Jacobs…
What has been your highlight from the first year The Cadogan Arms?
A few weeks after we opened and restrictions were fully lifted, guests started standing in the pub. It was the first time I had seen a pub operating as usual for 18 months and there was a real thrill in the air. It really felt like we were going back to normal and it was great to be bringing a pub back to life that had been closed for a long time. That was a very special moment to me.
Who are your dream first birthday party guests at The Cadogan Arms?
I am a big Rolling Stones fan so any of them would be very welcome. Keith Richards used to live on the same road so I imagine he has popped in at some point in years gone by. We put a painting of Charlie Watts in the corner of the dining room after he died. My father sadly passed away three months before we opened The Cadogan Arms and he used to stomp the pavement of the King’s Road in the 60s. I would have loved him to see it, he would have really enjoyed it. He was also a big fan of the Stones!
As a child, what were your favourite and least-favourite foods?
When I was younger I used to adore Indian food (I still do) and would always look forward to curry night at home. My parents were incredible cooks so I ate very well, some of mum’s staple dishes still make my mouth water and I can always tell you which one it is when I walk through the front door and can smell what’s in the oven. I used to hate baked beans.
If you could only eat one dish from The Cadogan Arms’ menu, what would it be?
I have to be careful when I am at the pubs because it is not great for the waistline! I Cornish boneless crispy lamb ribs are hard to beat though.
If you could have any guest chef, who would you have and why?
My dad’s mum was an incredible cook. Although she was not a chef, I would have loved to have seen her in a professional kitchen – her curry puffs were a staple of every family occasion. All the family spoke so highly of her food and how clever she was feeding a family of eight on a budget. She was quite formidable too so I’m sure she would have kept a brigade in check!
Where do you see The Cadogan Arms in 10 years’ time?
The Cadogan Arms has been a pub on that site since 1853 and I imagine it will remain so for centuries. It has been a great honour restoring it to its former glory but we are just custodians for the time being. We will continue trying to be the best pub we can, serving our patrons as best we can.
Apart from The Cadogan Arms, where is your favourite spot in Chelsea?
Medlar has always been a personal favourite restaurant of mine, it is great hospitality that always delivers.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
For me, the wonderful part of my job is creating spaces for people to celebrate and interact in. There is a magic in taking an empty building and transforming it into a space where proposals, first dates, catch-ups between old friends, celebrations and everything-in-between happen. When I see this happening in the venues I operate, it never gets old. It is a great privilege.
What advice would you give someone eager to start their own career in the hospitality industry?
Seize opportunities, remain passionate, learn as much as you can along the way and apply yourself. Respect the industry and it will respect you, it is one of the great that there is. There are serious careers to be made, my personal journey started with a passion for good food and drink back in a bar in Leeds.
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