Still the only Michelin-starred pub in London, The Harwood Arms continues to focus on game in its menu, some of which has been shot personally by the pub’s part-owner Mike Robinson. Heading the kitchen from February 2023 is Joshua Cutress, who was formerly sous chef here, and prior to that worked at The Ledbury and The Square. Three courses were priced at £65. I have written previously about the unusually good wine list here.
I can never come here without eating the venison Scotch egg, which I am pleased to report is still a thing of beauty. The venison filling had lovely flavour, properly seasoned and with a crisp outer coating and liquid egg yolk centre. This is the Scotch egg that you always want but almost never arrives. To complete the dish was a fine Oxford sauce, a piquant sauce involving mustard, vinegar and pepper (16/20).
Pate en croute with port and peppercorn jelly and pickles had good pastry and plenty of venison flavour, with accurate seasoning. The pickles provided a nice way to balance the richness of the meat (15/20). Warm pumpkin tart with Quickes goat cheese (from Devon) and thyme worked very well indeed. Pumpkin can easily be too sweet for a savoury tart, but somehow the combination with the goat cheese worked very effectively, and the pastry was good. This was a dish that worked a lot better than I would have expected (16/20).
Sika deer wellington came with broccoli and potatoes and some winter truffles The deer was accurately cooked and the Wellington was enjoyable, though perhaps the pastry was a little undercooked, at least to my taste. However, the broccoli was lightly cooked and provided the kind of greenery balance that was needed in a rich dish like this (14/20).
Mandarin trifle came with cranberries and gingerbread. The trifle had pleasant texture and the hint of ginger was quite interesting (14/20). Coffee here is just basic Nespresso capsules, and this is an area that the restaurant could improve with minimal effort by upgrading to a speciality coffee. Service was very good, dishes coming at a steady pace and the staff being friendly ad attentive, topping up wine carefully. The bill came to £177 per person, though that included some excellent Vina Tondonia wine. If you shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per person might be more like £95. I have long been a fan of The Harwood Arms, which is an especially appealing place if you enjoy eating game.