Tucked away amongst the charming backstreets of Fulham, you will find the Harwood Arms. It’s close to Fulham Broadway but you’d never know it. The pub looks simple from the outside – inviting – but simple none the less. Little would you know if you passed it that this is London’s only Michelin-starred Gourmet pub and Fulham’s worst kept secret. Hence it’s damn hard to get a table.
We came here as a super treat from sister Jo. A house dinner to say farewell to her (moving up in the world to Notting Hill). And what a perfect place for such a dinner. Low key, unpretentious and cosy. We managed to get a table because, without realising a few weeks previously, we had booked exactly when England would be playing Italy in the World Cup. We were chuffed with getting a table the night of our choice. And only later put two and two together.
The pub was empty when we arrived but filled up soon after. It’s not large, which is probably why getting a table is hard. But its size adds to the homely feel. Lots of dark wood and the occasional plant or flower to lighten it up. And a stag head hanging on the wall in the corner, observing diners in food heaven. We had a lovely table centre stage and were straight away brought fresh home made sour dough bread with salami. The bread was so good I vowed to make it when I got home (which obviously I did not, but I intend to).
We went for:
Starters to share: Wiltshire-cured Pork Belly with Scottish Scallops and cauliflower puré. Yes really, pork belly AND scallops. Decadent but just such a great unusual combination. Especially with the cauliflower.
Mains: *Stuffed leg of chicken, creamed potatoes & asparagus for Jo. Not very adventurous but you can’t stop someone from craving mashed potatoes. And it was rather good chicken and mashed potatoes. But not overly exciting, as one might expect. So perhaps a little disappointment there and a lesson to choose food you can’t (or don’t tend to) cook yourself instead.
*Roast of Herdwick Lamb for me. I am always a sucker for lamb. In any form, but especially chops. And these were so good! The potato (cooked in lamb fat no less) gratin and crushed peas were a lovely accompaniment.
*Muntjac for Hen. Talk about an ‘out there’ choice was my first thought. But actually, since it’s really just an ugly little deer, it tasted a lot like venison. And the portion was huge. And it, along with the cabbage and celeriac sides, was cooked to perfection. A bit of food envy all round.
Now here we intended to just go for the mini donuts. Which have a (phenomenal) reputation. And we saw them float by to the next table so had to get them. But then greed set in and we also went for the burnt coffee cream with short bread. Because it sounded a little more adventurous than a donut. Verdict?
Raspberry donuts with chocolate malt and cream: Usually 6 in a portion but clearly the waiter saw us drooling over our neighbours portion so gave us two extra. Really a must order! Not greasy, lots of flavour, but ultimately a deliciously sweet treat.
If you order a nice bottle of wine (which we did – a Bordeaux) to accompany the food, don’t expect a standard pub bill. But considering you’re eating Michelin-star food, the prices are more than reasonable. This is really the place for those who love the special atmosphere a typically British pub offers; where you feel instantly at ease and welcome. This, coupled with excellent British food with fair prices, means that the Harwood Arms will continue to be a very popular dining choice in this leafy neighbourhood of Fulham.
PS This does not mean you have to wait 4 years until the next World Cup to get a table. Just book well in advance and you shouldn’t have a problem.
LONDON SW6 1QP
020 7386 1847