Harden's survey result
“Fabulous game” is a highpoint of the “simple food, cooked to perfection” (“mouthwatering meat so tender the knife just fell through it”) at this “super-fine” hostelry in the distant backstreets of Fulham – for the second year, the survey’s No. 1 gastropub. Full credit goes to head chef Sally Abé for her “top flight” evolution of traditional dishes, but it can’t harm to have input from backers who include Brett Graham of The Ledbury, and also the UK’s most prominent game chef, Mike Robinson. Aside from the small amount of space dedicated purely to drinking, it feels like an honest-to-goodness, fairly unreformed boozer. Top Menu Tips – “venison scotch egg is to die for, as is the Sunday roast”.
“Terrific game dishes” (not least “the best venison specials in the whole of London”) are highlights of the “interesting menu” (culinary oversight comes from Brett Graham of The Ledbury and Mike Robinson of Berkshire’s Pot Kiln) at this renowned hostelry, lost in the distant backstreets of Fulham, which finally seized the crown for the first time this year as the survey’s No.1 gastropub (from The Anchor & Hope). “This is a pub where the food takes pride of place and drinking is incidental”, but it’s a “perfect mix” of the two, preserving the “informal” approach of a traditional boozer (if with very limited space for non-diners).
“Worth a taxi-ride from central London!” – this “good old-fashioned pub” in a quiet Fulham backstreet has won renown (including from the tyre men) for its “adventurous” British cooking, particularly of game (culinary oversight comes from Brett Graham of The Ledbury and Mike Robinson of Berkshire’s Pot Kiln). Top Tip “go for the venison and try one of the Scotch eggs”.
“Taking pub food to a new level entirely” – this “gastropub on steroids” in a quiet Fulham backwater has won fame with its “superb”, “hearty” cooking, and most particularly its “interesting game” (“especially the deer”). It’s a collaboration between the owners of Berkshire’s Pot Kiln, and Ledbury chef, Brett Graham. Top Menu Tip – “slow-roasted venison is a must-try when in season!”
Harwood Arms Restaurant Diner Reviews
"A noisy but enjoyable Saturday lunch. Venison scotch was a good start and the game theme continued with a shoulder of braised deer for main. Slightly dull meat was helped along with good gravy, a bacon wrap around and honey mustard glaze. They must know they need to add flavour and moistness! Best dish was lamb sweetbreads starter."
|Wine per bottle||£28.00|
Harwood Arms SW6
In the backwoods of Fulham, a game-specialist gastropub offering many dishes of 'restaurant' quality; our experience, however, suggests that the more robust, and more obviously 'gastropub-style' dishes, may be preferable.
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 provide more than a Scotch egg to go with your pint.
Of course, providing Scotch eggs doesn't actually disqualify you, and the Scotch eggs on offer at this recently re-opened gastropub - freshly cooked to order, with the yolk still runny - are a house speciality, and very good too.
In reality, though, this is arguably an informal Anglo-French restaurant of some ambition, which just happens to be located in a former boozer. Stephen Williams, who until recently worked at Notting Hill's best restaurant, the Ledbury, is very much a proper restaurant chef. (Ledbury chef Brett Graham is an investor here.)
There is no doubt that meals here start off very well, with bread - some bought in, some home-made - of very high quality. Thereafter, the view may to some extent depend on your perspective. If you say that, judged by the ambitions of the menu, this is really a restaurant, then you might find realisation a bit up-and-down: it may be that, within the constraints of the kitchen and its staffing, they are trying to be just a little bit too ambitious.
One of our two lunches, for example, didn't quite work at any point. A game soup with a venison sausage roll - game is a big deal here - really didn't gel. Neither did the main course, which was described as a hot pot of haddock and mussels, nor a pudding of (undercooked) rhubarb and (excellent) ice cream. Not that anything was positively bad, just that in each case there were obvious faults.
Stick to the sort of fare that's more obviously within the capacity of a gastropub-style kitchen, however, and it seems that you will find nothing to complain about at all. A main dish of hare and winter vegetables, for example, was as pleasing to the eye as it consistently was to the palate. Exemplary. For pudding, fluffy beignets (sorry, donuts, as this is a gastropub) confirmed the undoubted skill at work in the kitchen.
Whatever the ups and downs, the formula has generally attracted rave reviews elsewhere. It certainly seems to be drawing in an impressive - and notably diverse - crowd of locals. This is hardly the most obvious of locations, so they must be doing something right.
Walham Grove, London, SW6 1QP
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:15 pm‑9:15pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:15 pm‑9:15pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:15 pm‑9:15pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:15 pm‑9:15pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:15 pm‑9:15pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑2:45 pm, 6:15 pm‑9:15 pm|