“Many aspire” but “few deliver” as well as this “unremarkable-looking”, yet “audaciously inspirational”, corner boozer, in the backwoods of Fulham; a “real class act”, its “outstanding” British cuisine (“dominated by game”) goes “well beyond pub-standard”.
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The gastropub fast seems to be becoming the default London restaurant format. The term, ever more encompassing, can be applied to any food service operation in a former pub, with ambitions to provi...
Press Reviews (6)
AA Gill (12th April 2010)
Food 4/5 stars, Atmosphere 2/5 stars
More social critique from Mr. Gill in his visit to the Fulham gastropub, “a room where the motes of failure and despair and bad boarding-school experiences dance in the wasted sunlight. There were a couple of locals chewing the bar — leery, sneery, sloaney loafers, inevitably wearing clothes 10 years too young and three sizes too tight.” On a “surprising” menu, cuisine “is inescapably hooray; almost everything here died in terror, and for fun. That is the essential trick of English rah-rah food”. He seems to enjoy it, though: “this stuff is made with an easy, relaxed, even jaunty accomplishment. It’s better than you’d reasonably expect in a gastropub”. Service is “as you’d imagine, delivered by a nice boy with lovely manners and an easy charm, who probably has a girlfriend and a labrador, both called Suki, as well as a disappointed mother”. Despite the locals, however, he concedes that this is “[v]ery good”, and “worth the toff-slumming”.
Giles Coren (6th April 2010)
The critic is mostly impressed by his visit to this Fulham gastropub; starters are “delicious” but main courses prove a little underwhelming : “[p]erfectly tasty but rather a waste – not worth finishing, so I didn’t”. He can’t help but feel, however, that the Michelin star may have more to do with the “tweeer than hell” finishing touches - bread is served in what appears to be the “upturned linen bonnet of a 17th-century Dutch milkmaid” - than the food.
John Walsh (5th October 2009)
Food 4/5 stars, Ambience 3/5 stars, Service 4/5 stars
The “tired-looking” façade of this gastropub – on a “bricky suburban street” in Fulham – belies the excitement within. The critic discovers “a heftily English menu” and “cooking that perfectly balances the wholesome with the excitingly full-flavoured”. The “glorious” food is complemented by “cooly appealing” interior and “attentive” service, making for an “utterly satisfying lunch”.
Matthew Norman (10th February 2009)
“If the Harwood Arms were human, it would never have been conceived in the first place, for this is such a designer baby of a restaurant that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority would surely have intervened way before semen was added to ova.” Apparently, readers of the Guardian do not choke on such sentences over their cornflakes. But you get the message. This review of the Ledbury chef’s new Fulham play-away gastroboozer is an unmitigated ‘rave’.
Terry Durack (7th January 2009)
“This is the only review column in the country to my knowledge that asks the restaurateur or chef, post-review, for a statement of intent”, says the critic. “One of the interesting, and sometimes heartbreaking, things about doing this is how so many people struggle to actually explain what they are trying to do. At times, it's PR-speak, or worse, business-management lingo… But every now and then, you get the whole package: people who know what they want to do, and who simply go and do it. This is why I like The Harwood Arms so much. It looks like any smart contemporary gastropub, with its stripped woods, pale olive colours, blackboard specials, and bare tables. But it has real presence, personality and professionalism, being a joint venture between the Michelin-starred Brett Graham of The Ledbury, the country-style celebrity chef Mike Robinson and the publican Edwin Vaux”.
Jenni Muir (10th December 2008)
To no one’s surprise we discover that the style of this game-led gastroboozer – “[h]essian napkins tied with raffia [and] wobbly cream crockery designed by Sophie Conran” – is not the sort of thing that the dudes and dudettes at Time Out really take to; this Fulham newcomer, however, is proclaimed “terrific” nonetheless.