Living next to one of the most celebrated gastro pubs in the country and the only one in London with a Michelin star, you’d have thought I would have been more often. The thing with the Harwood Arms is that it is constantly booked, and I mean constantly. Sure you might get lucky with a last minute cancellation and I know they hold back one or two tables for a walk in but generally speaking it is bloody hard to get a reservation here, and so I booked myself in 3 months in advance and completely forgot I had a reservation until I got an email telling me that I had a table for 4 the coming Sunday. As luck would have it I also had tickets for the four o’clock Fulham FC match just down the road and so this worked out rather perfectly.
The Harwood Arms has worked hard to retain its pub roots; you can still have a drink at the bar and it is definitely aiming to be a pub that serves food rather than a restaurant with a bar. Staff are incredibly friendly and even though two of my friends managed to turn up just over half an hour late they didn’t get annoyed, just told us to relax and we could order when they arrived. I know a lot of fine dining establishments that would have got a bit arsey over this tardiness so plus points to the Harwood for being so nice about it.
While we waited we got stuck into a few starters; we knew we had to get the legendary Scotch egg, which I’d read a lot about, and we also got stuck into a plate of oyster fritters. The Scotch egg was a good as any I’ve had; soft yolky centre, venison meat (with a hint of sausage to help with the binding) and a light breadcrumb shell. This was the big leagues, one that would have been a contender at the Great London Scotch Egg challenge if they’d been able to enter (apparently they didn’t have enough staff to cover that night and it was eventually won by the Devonshire but that’s another story). The Harwood Arms is worth a visit just on the back of this.
I’ve never had oysters any other way but live so I was intrigued to try the fritters; they were a lovely mixture of crispy light batter and slimy, soft filling. I thought they were pretty decent, not a spot on a nice fresh oyster but a nice little snack with a pint.
Being a Sunday, we thought we’d go for the roast option which came in the form of a huge cut of sirloin to share between the three of us. It came with bone marrow, roast potatoes and various veg. It was pretty decent but was definitely lacking in any wow factor, I thought the potatoes weren’t crispy enough and although the meat was cooked perfectly I just didn’t think that much of it. I suppose the problem is that it’s a meal you have at home often and I definitely felt that I couldn’t have done a pretty decent imitation of it at home if I was so inclined. That’s more my fault for ordering it than anything else, I should have gone for something a bit more adventurous that I haven’t had a hundred times before. That’s not to say we didn’t enjoy it; we did, a lot, next time I’m going to go for something more exciting.
Pudding was a serious highlight though, after a lot of umming and ahhhing we (I) went for the mini donuts and lemon curd. These were the ultimate comfort food, soft, sweet, sugary donuts dipped in creamy lemony curd were so frigging good I could have had another ten helpings even after a full blow roast. They were, in a word, epic.
So after a lot of food, a decent bottle of wine and a pint or two we were served up with a bill of just over £50 a head which is a lot for a pub lunch but felt like quite good value considering how long we’d been there, and we tottered off to the footie in a great mood. My advice; book for a weekend that’s miles away, whack it in your diary and forget about it. If you can’t go on the weekend in question, no biggie, if not you’ve got a nice little treat in store for you.