The Dartmouth Arms, Dartmouth Park
35 York Rise
by Poppy Tartt
If Tufnell Park were a staircase, the Dartmouth Arms would be its ornate newel post carved from one chunk of timber, it is that solid and comforting. As the pub’s reassuring embrace enveloped us, Monsieur Bébé and I pinched each other to check for dreams. ‘Waking,’ confirmed Monsieur. We held the breakfast menu aloft for inspection. Its style and substance was, if concise (full English and veggie options and a range of breakfast sandwiches are available), wholly pleasing. It even boasted an endorsement from that doyen of English breakfasters, Mr P. G. Wodehouse.
Compatible in all things (apart from Monsieur’s pathological dislike of les champignons), we ordered the full English twice, and repaired to a large round table by the window. I removed my shoes and put my feet up. It was like being at home, only better. Monsieur obtained the Sunday papers from a nearby shop and we opened them up and spread them all about the table and all over our laps and dropped some of the least interesting parts on the floor. Breakfast arrived on big white oval plates and was lovely. The whites of the eggs were as clean and shiny as the plates themselves, the yolks like melted wax, the bacon porcine, toast thick and marvellous, tomato rubicund and jolly as a plump lady with a hat on . . . The je nais sais quoi of it all was I just don’t know what.
The one disappointment was the underdone sausage, which, were I less English, I might have sent back for a grilling. But everything else was so perfect, and – rather like when you realise, moments from the act of lovemaking, that your bladder has other things on its mind – I couldn’t quite bear to mention it . . .