The Harrow at Little Bedwyn

Little Bedwyn, Marlborough, England, SN8 3JP, United Kingdom

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The Harrow at Little Bedwin is a country restaurant near a quiet Cotswold village. Husband and wife team Roger and Sue Jones (respectively head chef and front of house manager) own the establishment, which gained a Michelin star in 2007 and has retained it ever since. There is a small but cosy garden terrace where you can have a drink as you browse the menu, which is modern British in nature. Roger has spent most of his career in private catering. You can get there by train to either Hungerford or Bedwyn direct from Paddington (just over a one hour journey, then a 10 minute taxi ride).

The wine list was extensive, with particularly wide selections of antipodean and Spanish wines, at rather curiously inconsistent mark-up levels. Tamar Ridge Riesling 2006 cost £24 for a wine that you can buy for around £9 in the shops, Dog Point Pinot Noir 2007 was a chunky £68 for a wine that you can find easily for £18, while Didier Dagenau Pur Sang 2004 was better relative value £120 for a wine that costs around £59 retail, while at the upper end of the list Vega Sicilia Unico 1990 was a fair £275 for a wine that you can buy for around £207 retail these days. The bread is made from scratch and was very pleasant, though for me a little more salt would not have gone amiss (15/20).

Cured Somerset eel with cured Kelmscott ham and Waldorf salad was a pleasant way to start the meal, the salad ingredients crisp and fresh, the eel of good quality (15/20). Poached Pembrokeshire lobster had tender flesh, resting in a bowl with a pleasant aromatic stock (16/20). The best dish was probably seared foie gras, scallop and black pudding. The single scallop was of high quality sweet and cooked nicely, if a fraction longer than I would have chosen, while the black pudding (supplied from a producer in Scotland) was unusually good. The combination of earthy and seafood tastes worked well, with an extra dimension from a smear of reduced Pedro Ximines sherry (comfortably 16/20).

Line-caught turbot with wild mushrooms had nicely cooked fish with a pleasant if unexceptional mushroom broth (15/20).  Salt marsh Welsh lamb was nicely cooked, served with good rosti and high quality beans and peas, with cooking juices (15/20). A pre-dessert “Boiled egg” was actually meringue with a mango mousse; I am not quite sure why the restaurant chooses to label a dessert in this way (something yellow and something white, ho ho; it didn’t look remotely like a boiled egg), but the important thing was that there was quite good mango flavour (14/20).   Chocolate dessert included a rather tasteless and watery chocolate sorbet, though a chocolate cake was better (13/20).

Overall this was a very enjoyable meal, with good quality ingredients and a solid cooking technique throughout most of the meal. As so often in the UK, the desserts were rather an afterthought compared to the savoury courses, and this was the area in which the restaurant could look to improve. Service was excellent throughout.


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