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|Address:||Walham Grove, London SW6 1QP|
|Tel:||020 7386 1847|
|Price: £49.00||Wine: £16.50||Champagne: £50.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sun 12N-4pm Mon-Sat 6.30-9.30pm Sun 7-9pm|
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My friend wanted to meet for a casual lunch near Fulham Broadway and recommended we meet at The Harwood Arms. Lunch in a pub with a Michelin star? This is my kind of “casual”. The pub itself is very unstarry: generic wooden tables, generic Farrow & Ball elephant's breath-painted wooden panelling, generic prints on the walls. I like that it hasn't gone all posh pub paying lip service to casual but then stuffing the place with linen tablecloths and “art”. Service is appropriately relaxed with patient, friendly, smartly casual attired waiters; no retro pinnies here. In fact it is quite difficult to tell the waiters from the punters and at one point we ask one poor gentleman for a coffee before he sits down with his friends at the next door table. Embarrassing. There's a tempting, good value set menu on offer with a venison starter and pork main for £20 which I would have jumped at if it weren't for the fact we have been eating our way through half a pig in our freezer (don't ask) and the thought of more pork makes me feel ill. So instead we went a la carte and had a fantastic meal of which the outstanding memory for me was an unusual salmon starter: thickish slices of smoked fish, still gelatinously transparent, a beautiful brown-orange, with a wonderful treacle-y flavour. On the plate everything looks more Michelin-worthy: portions aren't huge (but I didn't think they were disappointing and I was certainly full at the end of 2 courses) and there are the usual swirls of sauces and garnishes on the side, although, like the decor, nothing is showy. The bill comes at £45, which given we stuck drinkswise to elderflower cordial and coffee, is slightly starry for lunch but money well spent. I can't think of any other places in London where you can enjoy Michelin starred food in such an unpretentious venue.