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The Harwood Arms – the Fulham Local

Hidden away in the side streets of Fulham, and with a name like The Harwood Arms, I was expecting nothing more than a classic English pub. However, since three friends have taken over management; publican Edwin Vaux, Brett Graham from the Michelin starred Ledbury restaurant and Mike Robinson of the Pot Kiln, this little hideaway definitely has more promise than the local pub.

More than just simply being concerned with good ale, these foodies have made food a priority – and the punters seem to be pleased. The Harwood Arms is buzzing with cheery diners seated at classically set tables, more representative of fine dining rather than the paper napkins and sticky coasters customary at the pub. In fact, I don’t think I would classify The Harwood Arms as a pub at all; it is more of a restaurant with a rustic, welcoming, pub-like atmosphere.

The menu is classic with simple starters like a warm onion tart with Montgomery cheese that is uncomplicated, soft, and thankfully not very eggy (£5). Also worth a mention is the sweet corn soup with crab and basil (£5.50), it is buttery and rich – warmly indulgent. Keeping prices at a reasonable pub benchmark, mains start at £13.50, with dishes like slow braised faggot (£14) and braised shoulder of English lamb (£13.50) all on the menu. The Cornish cod with seaweed, boiled potatoes, broccoli and English mash samphire (£14.50) was marvellous. The cod was magic, so tender, whilst the cream sauce was surprisingly light. My dish of roast T-bone of Henley Fallow deer with crisp potatoes and black cabbage, served alongside mushroom ketchup (£16.50) was also quite tasty. I liked the crispy saltiness of the potatoes, teamed with delicious cabbage. Although I found my piece of meat too big for me to manoeuvre, and the mushroom ketchup was not very mushroomy which was disappointing as this sounded like a great concept in theory. Nevertheless, it was quite a filling dish, although I must say I preferred my companion’s cod.

To help with digestion, the wine list at The Harwood Arms is brilliant. I quite enjoyed the Rosé, Weighbridge, Peter Lehmann 2007, (£5.60) which was smooth with a tangy aftertaste. Also on offer, Henriot Cuvee des Enchanteleurs, deemed as a better drop than Krug or Cristal, is an eye watering £150 a bottle. Cheaper, but impressive drops from £14 are also available from corners of the globe like Australia, France and Chile.

Classic English deserts like Eton mess (£5.50) and black treacle and stem ginger tart (£6) all sounded tempting. However, I could not resist trying a bowl of warm Bramley apple doughnuts with spiced sugar (£5). Omigosh – heaven! These were like little balls of apple pie, without the expected oily gloopiness of doughnuts. I ate the whole bowl myself!

The Harwood Arms seems to have taken the best bits of pub culture – traditional grub, reasonable prices and thirst-quenching beverages, and teamed this with a sophisticated layout, fresh produce, and a more approachable crowd of grown-up public school kids, who seem like a hell of a lot more fun than their Chelsea counterparts.

The Harwood Arms
27 Walham Grove

Approx £25 pp without drinks.

Jacklyn Swiecicki

UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2010

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