The Harwood Arms

British, Gastropub·
££££
·
Silver Award
·

SquareMeal Review of The Harwood Arms

Silver Award

The Harwood Arms has been London’s only Michelin-starred pub for nearly a decade, somehow remaining both a local watering hole and high-end dining destination. It’s an impressive balancing act, one that has been made possible by chefs like Stephen Williams, Sally Abé and now, Jake Leach.

Upon entering, one is greeted by all the signs of a great pub: a laid-back atmosphere, well-stocked bar and cosy interiors. We nab a table in the corner and are soon enjoying the famous venison Scotch egg, slathered with old-school Oxford sauce.

This pub grub is soon replaced by delicate, complex plates, like a brilliantly fresh sea bream tartare laced with capers and yolk. A mackerel, potato and parsley number, meanwhile, is well-balanced, albeit well-trodden ground. To drink, the staff expertly select an Austrian white for us, one that offers a twang of sweetness to counterbalance the salinity of the fish.

A gastropub is only as good as its mains, and the Sladesdown duck for two perfectly encapsulates The Harwood’s unfussy, yet elevated style. The breast is blushing pink and flawlessly tender, resting on a bed of creamy oats and mushrooms, while the wing, heart and liver have been skewered and grilled, each delicious in its own way. One slip-up - a firm, undercooked slice of turnip - is soon forgotten thanks to gloriously crisp roast baby potatoes, doused in red wine jus. With a velvety pinot noir in hand, the thought of ever leaving seems less and less inviting.

Our meal finishes with an unexpected flourish. Trifle, typically an outdated jumble of cold sponge and sherry, here is an utter revelation. Layers of yoghurt ice cream, champagne jelly, blackcurrant granita and gingerbread crumb come together wonderfully, forming a riveting chorus that leaves us spellbound.

In an ordinary pub, £65 for three courses might feel steep. But then again, nothing about The Harwood Arms is ordinary.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
British, Gastropub
Ambience
Cool, Cosy, Fun, Lively, Traditional
Other Awards
One Michelin star, SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Gluten-free options, Vegetarian options
People
Celebrations, Dates, Group dining [8+], Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating

About

Built in 1866 as a ‘beer house’, The Harwood Arms has been a pack leader on London’s gastropub scene for many a year, thrilling Chelsea locals and others with its stellar ingredients-led food and handsome gentrified interiors (a full-length bar, bare-boarded floors, mismatched furniture, monochrome photos on green-panelled walls). It also benefits from having some starry backers including Brett Graham (of The Ledbury) and TV chef/food-hunter Mike Robinson (of The Pot Kiln, Frilsham).

The kitchen specialises in wholeheartedly seasonal British fare – including veg, soft fruit and herbs from the pub’s rooftop garden, plus foraged pickings and bags of furred and feathered game (roast Yorkshire grouse with creamed root vegetables, stuffed cabbage and elderberries, for example).

Other highlights from the daily fixed-price menu might range from whipped chicken livers with onion jam and thyme ‘hobnobs’ or salt-baked beetroot with pickled cherries, hazelnuts and duck ham to poached Cornish cod with sweetcorn, cockles and lemon thyme or slow-cooked shoulder of Herdwick lamb with creamed courgettes and basil. Also, take a peek at calendar-tuned desserts such as strawberry and camomile trifle or blackcurrant jam doughnuts with citrus cream.

It may tout a Michelin star, but The Harwood Arms still trades as a proper local boozer, holding regular quiz nights and pleasing the drinkers with pints of real ale and plates of stupendous venison Scotch eggs, as well as bringing the house down with its thumping Sunday roasts – although the knowledgeably curated 200-bin wine list would put most local pubs to shame. The Harwood Arms has also been alma mater to some impressive names, including Sally Abe and James Cochran. 


FAQs

Does it have a Michelin star?

Yes, it has one Michelin star.

Helpful? 0

Who is the head chef?

The head chef is Jake Lear who has previously worked at Fera and The Ledbury.

Helpful? 0

The Harwood Arms is featured in

Location

Walham Grove, Fulham, London, SW6 1QP

020 7386 1847 020 7386 1847

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri 12:00-14:15
Sat 12:00-14:15
Sun 12:00-20:15
Dinner
Mon 05:30-21:15
Tue 05:30-21:15
Wed 05:30-21:15
Thu 05:30-21:15
Fri 05:30-21:15
Sat 05:30-21:15
Sun Closed

Reviews

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34 Reviews 
Food/Drink
Service
Atmosphere
Value

Simon B

28 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Pub. Food. drink. Excellent British food. Amazing homemade bread and value for miney. Some great wines and beer Available 

Colin K

27 December 2022  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 4

My first visit and it lived up to it's long standing reputation. An upmarket "pub" food without being overly trendy 

Graham N

26 July 2019  
Takes pub food to another level. Highly recommended, great value.

Zanni S

29 March 2019  
Michelin starred British fayre. Delicious flavour combinations and the freshest ingredients, the venison from Windsor a particular favourite. Low key surroundings highlight food which is delicious. Friendly ambience.

Patrick B

27 November 2013  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 3
Value 4
Attention to detail
The Harwood Arms embodies what is great about “pub fine dining”, as this is way beyond a “gastro pub” in everything but the premises. Not that they are a put-off, but do not expect fine dining enclosure tucked away at the rear of the pub. What you see is what you get and it is a newly refurbished and pleasant rather small pub. The only nod is an elaborate skylight which transforms the space. The focus on the food is what makes this place special. The moment you try one of their house special scotch eggs as a pre-starter you will see what I mean. The finesse and quality is refutable and very enjoyable. It is very much British modern cooking not too different from what Mr Atherton would advocate. One criticism is the wine list which is a bit confusing and lacks a dash of “direction and purpose”, however, the beers are well chosen and combine well with the haute-cuisine-cum-comfort-food style of the cooking. Thumbs up for keeping it very authentic and producing a perfect example of where the British culinary revolution stands today. A great place to take out-of-town visitors too.

BoatLady

24 October 2013  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4.5
Value 4
Very unstarry but deserving of its Michelin star
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.

Tim Z

09 September 2013  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 4
Value 4
Rightfully so this place deserves his michelin star, as the first and only in London. Given its a pub (which can easily get forgotten given the renowned quality of its food) and the food is great, you end up with a fantastic combination – a very relaxed and easy (ie not posh) place to enjoy some high quality food (and wine). The place has a simple, rustic charme (wooden chairs and tables) with very friendly and attentive staff. The menu is short and that's good as it offers fresh and seasonal food with a focus on local british sourced produce (game etc). The wine list reminds you what this place is as it contains an impressive offering of high quality wine matching its michelin star food offering.

Richard E

24 May 2012  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4
If a meal is eaten in a restaurant and nobody tweets a picture of it, did it have any taste?  I don't know what the fascination with taking pictures of food comes from and, whilst the shoulder of deer at the Harwood was a delight to behold, I'm afraid I just don't get why, when it arrived at the next door table, everyone got out their cameras and iPhones to take pictures of it. I know some restaurants ban photographs (after all, the food porn shots taken for a restaurant's website take an age to line up and a fortune to get right, so who wants a badly lit snap going viral?), but you shouldn't have to.  What makes people think that an evening of eating, drinking and good conversation can be made even better by taking pictures of the food?  Sure, capture the fun by taking pictures of each other (I find that this often helps fill in gaps in the evening), but the food? Some septic friends of ours were in town, and wanted a gastropub experience. In fact, it seems that most of our fellow diners were from across the Pond.  The Harwood is a pub. It serves beer and scotch eggs (more of which later). It also has a Michelin star. On balance, I think that this is a good thing; Michelin moving with the times, and the tastes, where gastropubs are doing what inns of old used to do, by serving good quality food with which to accompany an ale or two. Ok, so the wine list is good here too, but the idea of a less formal setting than a restaurant to get great nosh is one innovation going the other way across to the US. The Harwood is a real pub too; along with the diners there are the drinkers, equally as welcome.  It is stuck on a back road off Fulham Broadway, around the corner from the home of the worst team to win the Champions League since Porto.  So cheap it is not. We started with some of those scotch eggs. A scotch egg used to be a slab of sausage meat wrapped around a solid hen's egg coated in orange breadcrumbs, served straight from the fridge. Now you find them on every trendy menu. Here it is served warm, with venison replacing pork, and the egg soft and giving.  The soup and terrine both went down well too. The former a lovely concoction of jersey royals and wild garlic, the latter a good country pate, with toasted brioche. Continuing the deer theme, three of us moved on to the shoulder of venison. Wrapped in bacon, served with a huge dollop of mash, much photographed by the next table, was gorgeous. Slow cooked, melting and beautifully seasoned.  It tasted as good as it looked, although, unlike the neighbouring table, we still didn't take a picture of it.  The cod favoured by the fourth of our party, whilst not as photogenic as Bambi, went down well too. Wines too were nice: a cheeky Voortrekker chenin blanc followed by a solid old world red. Not cheap, but both excellent. Service is cheery and efficient. In fact relaxed and pub like, rather than restaurant stiff. At this point I must confess that our dining companions did show us a picture of a dish they'd had in NY the week before. (I did say that they were American).  It was glorious: a whole sheep's head, smote in two, tongue, brains, everything ready to be picked over. I'm not ready to take pictures (let alone tweet anything) yet, but when I'm next in the Big Apple, I'm going to find a sheep's head to tuck into.

Jim M

16 January 2012  
Food & Drink 2
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 2
Having been recommended the Harwood Arms as a great Gastro Pub, and especially given the Michelin Star rating it has, we were expecting something a little better than what we actually experienced. The pub itself is nice, and possesses a warm and friendly atmosphere with a small bar which had a welcoming, relaxed ambience. The service in particular was the highlight of our visit, with attentive and friendly serving girls ensuring we were always happy, delivering our food and drinks promptly and efficiently. However the food itself was a huge disappointment. Whilst we expected a degree of overpricing given the nature of the establishment, the food itself was well presented (with colourful sauce swirls and artful presentation) but generally disappointing in substance (bar the “home-made” bread of course). A smoked salmon starter -given it's constituents it would have to be spectacular to be priced that way…it wasn't. Roast Chicken leg with pressed potato and black pudding, whilst moist, was incredibly average and meagre in portion size, a hugely inflated meal at almost £18. The other meals were essentially the same – acceptable, pleasant but woefully overpriced and miles away from a Michelin starred expectations. If the portions had been of a normal size, or the prices lowered and the Michelin starred reputation set to one side in favour of it being a nice pub perhaps that would mark a higher score, but for us the Harwood Arms marked a somewhat disappointing foray into the realm of Gastro Pubs. We came away thinking of all the better places we'd eaten at, which without such pedigree managed to serve better food at the same or lower price. However it must be said again that whilst the food and value for money were poor to average, the service was excellent and the serving girls deserve all the praise from any positive reviews. Go there for a drink…skip the meal.

Yoonjin S

15 October 2011  
Food & Drink 4
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 3.5
Being a Michelin star restaurant, I was expecting to be wowed by the Harwood Arms and left thinking i'd had a standard pub roast… the rib of beef was slightly disappointing: the meat was tough, the smoked bone marrow had no flavour as it was deep fried and it came with standard dinner knives and not steak knives making it difficult to carve the meat from the bone. However the thing that makes this place special is the fantastic service, knowledgeable staff and the presentation of the food. I probably wouldn't go again but the long Sunday lunch we had was enjoyable enough.
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