The Harwood Arms is the only Michelin-starred pub in London. It specialises in game, some of this shot in Berkshire by the co-owner Mike Robinson. However it also offers a complete vegetarian menu. The kitchen is now in the capable hands of Alex Harper, who had previously worked at The Ledbury, Texture (as head chef) and at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons. Three courses here cost £39.50 before drinks and service.
The wine list is extensive, carefully thought out and has detailed notes on every wine, from the humblest £24 Languedoc offering through to the grandest labels of Pauillac. The Marques de Murrietta Gran Reserva 2007 was drinking well tonight, listed at £58 compared to a shop price of £24.
No meal here is complete without the signature venison Scotch egg, of which I have written before. Tonight I also tried a special of the day, squid porridge with smoked cod roe accompanied by wild garlic and Jersey Royal soup. The soup had plenty of flavour and was well seasoned, the squid porridge an interesting idea that worked surprisingly well (14/20). Buttered Cornish crab on an English muffin with pickled lemon and herbs was unusual and pleasant, the crab fresh and paired well with the sharpness of the fruit (14/20).
Roasted and braised fallow deer came with parsnips wrapped in lardo, smoked bone marrow tart and crisp pressed potato. The Berkshire deer was lightly cooked and had plenty of flavour, and the bone marrow tart was an interesting foil for it. The potatoes were lovely and the nutty sweetness of the parsnip was a clever match for the meat (16/20). Stone bass came with leek and Jerusalem artichoke and was accurately cooked, the artichoke in particular a good accompaniment (14/20).
Rhubarb soufflé has the right level of tartness and plenty of flavour, and had risen well but the filling was just a touch undercooked (maybe 14/20). I can never resist the jam doughnuts here, a sugary, indulgent delight (15/20). The coffee is an organic Brazilian roast from the exotically named “Gentleman Baristas Union” in Southwark smooth and surprisingly full of flavour for what is a decaffeinated coffee. Service was excellent and the bill came to £83 a head with plenty of excellent wine. A more typical price per person would be around £70.