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Harwood Arms

  • Bars and pubs
  • Fulham
  • price 3 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Harwood Arms
LateefHarwood Arms

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

An upmarket Fulham pub showcasing prime British produce through skilled, imaginative modern cooking.

On first appearances, Harwood Arms is an actual, honest-to-goodness pub, the kind of place where you could wander up to the bar and sink a pint (without drowning in embarassment). It's all warm exposed wood and unfussy British comfort, a cosy, slightly countrified haven on an unlikely Fulham back street.

But look a bit more closely at the details – a ritzy ostrich feather lampshade here, a flourish of antlers there – and you'll quickly realise that something a little more elaborate is going on (and that maybe running an iron over your outfit might have been wise). After all, this is London's only Michelin-starred gastropub, and locals and tourists alike will book weeks in advance to worship at the altar of its luxe game-focused menu.

The presentation is all fine dining fanciness, the textures are precision-honed, but the flavours are remixed versions of time-honoured British standbys

The daily line-up is short and changes often, but it's stuffed with local produce, British flavours, and a pretty-much-guaranteed starring role for venison, treated with a delicacy that contrasts with the chunky boards and plates it's served on. On our visit, a plate of red deer tongue looked as pinkly pretty as a dessert, with its delicate ruby orbs of beetroot and blobs of quince paste offsetting the gaminess of the main event. The goat's cheese and onion tart was more suited to anyone with sentimental feelings about Bambi, but far from the kind of back-of-the-deep-freeze standby your average pub will dig out for luckless vegetarians: it arrived warm, wobbly and unctuous as a cheesecake, with an earthy richness straight from the farm in the very best of ways.

You could easily go double deer here but we swerved that in favour of beef short rib for mains, which arrived in tender slices flanked by caramelised hen of the woods mushroom and melting dabs of puree – no need to crack out the steak knife here. It's a dish that showcases something The Harwood Arms excels at: striking a careful balance between simplicity and artifice. The presentation is all fine dining fanciness, the textures are precision-honed, but the flavours are remixed versions of time-honoured British standbys, with a storecupboard of sage, prune, pickled walnuts or horseradish on hand to tone down the richness for anyone who doesn't have the palette of a ruddy-faced 18th century country squire.

This approach fell down, a little, with the puddings: the custard flan had an intense milky richness which needed a little more freshness to temper it, something to send us springing rather than staggering into the chill winter's night. But perhaps that's part of Harwood Arms' doggedly seasonal approach. In summer, strawberries and radishes grow on its rooftop, ready to supply welcome sweetness and freshness to its menus.

This might technically be a pub, but there weren't many pints perched next to the plates of the diners surrounding us: instead, everyone was diving into a serious wine list that hops from English sparkling wines to Georgian reds to the pricy charms of a heavyweight 1988 Bordeaux. Fresh-faced, enthusiastic staff dashed between tables with bottles, looking like they'd be equally at home on a rugby pitch, but somehow a sense of calm prevailed. Harwood Arms definitely isn't your local boozer, but there's just enough pub simplicity to this spot to make it a solid, comforting antidote to fine dining pretension.

The vibe A wood-panelled gastropub on a sleepy Fulham backstreet.

The food A game-heavy celebration of classic British flavours.

The drink French vintages dominate a wine list that's as elaborate as the menu is simple.

Time Out tip Swerve the desserts and start your meal with a meltingly soft venison scotch egg, instead.

Written by
Alice Savile


Corner of Walham Grove and Farm Lane
Tube: Fulham Broadway
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