It's British pub food meets Oakland. Say hello to The Growlers' Arms, a new British country-style gastropub located in Oakland's Glenview neighborhood. If you've ever wanted to try black pudding, bubble and squeak, or a fish pie, this is the place to go.
Patrick and I were invited to dinner as guests of the house and our experience was splendid. From the warm and cozy environment to the service and the food, I can't say enough good things about this place! Pub food is taken to another level here with a creative focus on using local ingredients and nose-to-tail.
Seamus and Shelley Mulhall (Gary Danko, Boulevard, La Folie and Chez Panisse) are the brains behind The Growlers' Arms, inspired by their time spent traveling in the English countryside. The menu is prepared by Chef Brian Ventura, who has previously worked at Insalata's (San Anselmo), Epic Roadhouse (San Francisco), Cavallo Point (Sausalito), and A16 (San Francisco).
The menu changes daily, but you can expect dishes such as Bubble and Squeak with smoked trout paté and crème fraîche; Haggis on toast with a fried farm egg; wood-oven roasted Trout with celery root champ and Brussels sprout leaves; and Devil’s Gulch Ranch bone-in pork chop with roasted Wickson apples.
Libations include a selection of wines, beers and cocktails. There's a Californian focused wine list with some European offerings that features 28 vintages with 8 poured by the glass and carafe. There are 9 domestic and imported beers and the craft cocktail menu showcases classic, contemporary and signature drinks.
The service was excellent, helpful, and comfortable. The interactions felt very natural, like talking to a good friend. Our server Mona was very genuine and extremely knowledgeable about the food, explaining the cooking process and unique traits of each dish.
THE FOOD REVIEW
English-style Fish Plate ($18)
You don't often see varieties of house-cured or smoked fish on a menu, so we had to order the fish plate that comes with potted butter clams, gravlax, Monterey Bay anchovies, smoked sturgeon and crisps. Everything on that plate was delicious. The texture of the sturgeon was thick and velvety with a chew, sweet in taste with lovely hints of wood smoke. I would come back for this dish alone.
Black Pudding with Peppercress and Persimmon Chutney ($10)
It was difficult to snap a good photo with the dim lighting, but this black pudding is rich enough to melt in your mouth. While the idea of blood sausage may make some people squeamish, this pudding is flavored so nicely that you won't even notice the blood. The persimmon chutney is lovely and bright.
Crispy Skin Trout with Celery Root Champ, Brussels Sprouts and Herb Butter Sauce ($22)
I was blown away by the gorgeous pink trout. The cook on it was perfect, resulting to a tender flakiness that melts in your mouth like butter. The root champ did a nice job of bringing the dish together. I believe the fish is sourced from a local river up North. This dish absolutely cannot be missed.
Wood-oven Roasted Devil’s Gulch Ranch Pork Chop with Braised Mustard Greens and Roasted Apples ($29)
This 1 lb. pork chop was so flavorful, thick, and juicy. I don't think I've had a pork chop cooked so perfectly. I especially loved the thick layer of fat. The entire meat glistens beautifully and tastes even better than it looks. You will not be disappointed with the pork chops.
Warm Potato Salad with Duck Cracklings and a 6-minute Egg ($9)
There wasn't a thing that I didn't like about this dish. The potatoes were roasted nicely and tender. The egg was delicious and the cracklings were fun and tasty.
Trifle with Poached Pears and 5-mile Blackberry Jelly ($10)
I've never had a trifle before and my first experience was wonderful. The blackberries used for the jelly were all picked within a 5 mile radius - now that's local! The crusty pound cake pieces combined with the poached pears (in pear liquor), blackberry jam, creamy custard and whipped topping was a lovely way to end our meal.
Pork Pies ($10)
Be sure to not leave without grabbing a pie to go! It's perfect to share between two people and makes for a perfect midnight snack - or anytime, really. It comes with two mustard options. I loved the crust and the filling was nice, too. It almost reminded me of a luncheon ham. It's traditionally eaten cold, but we heated it up in the oven as recommended.
Our food was complimentary, but I left dinner immediately wanting to go back the next day. There were so many things I loved about this charming restaurant and I have a mental list of everything that I want to try on our next visit back. I look forward to seeing how they evolve over time.
This restaurant is a must-visit and worth the drive over even if you're not in the area.
Thanks so much for a wonderful dinner, The Growlers' Arms!
VISITING tHE gROWLERS' ARMS
4214 Park Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94602
- Tuesday- Saturday: 5:00pm-10:00pm
- Sunday: 11:00am-8:00pm
- Closed on Mondays