Despite its bucolic name, The Harrow isn’t some timeless local pub, but a full-blown country restaurant in a secluded village on the Kennet & Avon Canal. Serious ambition is confirmed by an array of awards & testimonials from Michelin to Robert Parker, & the interior affirms its classy credentials with muted modern shades, high-backed leather chairs & crisp white linen in the recently refreshed, unstuffy dining areas. Chef-patron Roger Jones’s accomplished modern cooking is driven by high-quality seasonal ingredients – with day-boat catches from Brixham showing up strongly. Starters are occasionally jazzed up with oriental flavours & ingredients (sashimi of lobster with Japanese salad), & there are useful by-the-glass suggestions for each course: Glaetzer Bishop Shiraz 2006 with grey partridge, savoy cabbage & apple sauce, say. The full wine list is an oenophile’s delight, with bottles from serious growers around the globe at very fair prices.
Michelin-starred chef Roger Jones is a big champion of New World wine, particularly Australia and New Zealand – and his list is a prolonged love letter to the efforts of winemakers Down Under. There are 13 pages of whites (including a mouth-watering selection of Clare Valley Rieslings), and 11 pages of reds (including 12 vintages of Moss Wood Cab and seven vintages of Grange). But this isn’t so much about sheer volume as great names – often with a fair bit of age, and great prices.