The Fox and Grapes is run by Claude Bosi of Hibiscus, who also runs the The Malt House in Fulham. The restaurant opened in February 2011, with Cedric Bosi running it. Initially Patrick Leano, formerly sous chef at Hibiscus, was in charge of the kitchens, but he has now moved to Wild Honey. The kitchens were, at the time of writing, being run by John Christie, who has been in place since June 2013 and had previously worked at Hibiscus and at Malt House.
The wine list had choices such as Baldrick Shiraz 2010 at £24 for a wine that you can find in the high street for £6, Au Bon Climat Wild Boy Chardonnay 2010 at £45 for a wine that retails at £18, up to a few grander choices such as Margaux Chateau Giscours 1995 at £120 for a wine that will set you back £86 in a shop.
A salad of Isle of Wight tomatoes (£8) with basil oil was harmless enough, but oddly appeared to be topped with flakes of ice. If there was a flavour in there it was subtle to the point of invisibility, so just ended up making the tomatoes soggy; as an aside, it was an oddly large portion for a starter (10/20). Citrus cured mackerel (£8.50) with dill and buttermilk was not very successful either, the thin strips of mackerel almost entirely lacking in flavour (10/20). We were on safer ground with the pub staple of haddock and chips (£14.50). The fish was cooked properly, the batter fine (12/20), and triple cooked chips, although they could have had a crisper coating, were perfectly pleasant (easily 13/20).
Raspberries (£7.50) with clotted ice cream were decent enough, but there was hardy much intervention from the kitchen here other than plating the fruit. Wye Valley blueberries (£7.50), salted chocolate and yoghurt sorbet reported worked quite well. Service was friendly enough but rather lazy, with “who ordered what?” a particularly poor question given that there were hardly any other diners in the restaurant. If you consumed three courses, coffee and modest wine then a typical bill would be around £55 a head. To my mind this seems a lot of money for the level of what was delivered. The Harwood Arms it is not.