There are lots of good pubs in London, and lots that claim to bring a slice of the countryside to the city, but none do it quite like The Harwood Arms. The fact that it’s the only Michelin-starred pub in town tells you that it’s a cut above, not to mention it being awarded No. 1 Gastropub in the UK by Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs in 2020 and being named Best Pub and Bar at The Cateys in the same year.
Opened in 2009 by The Ledbury’s Brett Graham, restaurateur Mike Robinson, and Edwin Vaux of Vaux Brewery, The Harwood Arms has built its stellar reputation by championing the best of British, particularly game and wild food – it’s definitely not your average pub grub. And with faux fur throws, leather sheaths for the cutlery, wreaths on the walls and a beaut bar in the middle of the space, it doesn’t look like your average pub either. Since former head chef Sally Abé departed for the Conrad London St James hotel, Jake Leach has stepped in to lead the kitchen and he’s certainly keeping up the high standards.
It’s a simple menu set-up with three courses for £55, plus snacks at an additional cost. You won’t want to miss the venison scotch egg, which came with an Oxford sauce so good that we were eating it straight from the ramekin. After that strong start it was onto the main menu, beginning with the Hereford steak tartare, where there was a chunky cut on the beef so you could really taste the quality of the meat and a sprinkling of straw potatoes to add crunch. The Berkswell cheese tart was also excellent, with an incredibly light pillowy middle, almost a souffle texture, with cubes of celeriac suspended inside and a healthy grating of Wiltshire truffle on top.
Things got more meaty with the mains. The Iberico pork dish had pieces of fillet accompanied by a slice of fattier jowl meat topped with black pudding crumb and crackling to really up the porky notes, alongside a moreish oat & chanterelle risotto. The Belted Galloway beef sirloin, cooked perfectly medium rare, came with more incredible mushrooms and confit celeriac cooked in beef fat, plus a pot of garlic roasties to share and rich sticky sauces for both plates. It’s proper rib-sticking winter food and we loved it.
However that did mean we could only split one dessert between two (otherwise we would have literally had to be rolled out of the pub) but boy it was a good’un. The malted treacle slice was giving us big STP energy especially once it was drenched in stout sauce, with a tart creme fraiche ice cream offsetting it perfectly.
The Harwood Arms has all the rustic touches of a country pub with the kind of polish that you’d expect from a place in Fulham. The team has really nailed the balance between neighbourhood pub and destination dining in terms of look and service, and of course the food. We’re only gutted that this isn’t our local.
Walham Grove, London SW6 1QP