Last week I decided that I needed a list. Not a shopping list as such but a list written down of the London restaurants I really wanted to go to. The usual happened, when I started it, I couldn’t think of any restaurants all of a sudden, my mind went blank, but it has now been populate with some 20 places and is being added to on a daily basis. A local pub of mine that I went to 11 years ago is on the list, it now has a Michelin star and I’ve been meaning to go back for years. Often, I’m told, you can get a really good deal at places with stars if you go at lunchtime. So in a bid to keep my early birthday party vibes going I booked in at the Harwood Arms and off we toddled.
It was busy but not full, it was only Wednesday lunchtime afterall. Bread, butter and menus were instantly brought to the table along with filtered water. I have no idea what was in he bread but it was lovely – dense in the hand but light when eating – weird, but good. And the butter was wonderfully salty, I hate being that person who adds salt to restaurant butter.
To start, a glass of sherry, well, why not? I went for the special starter of Hereford snails with oxtail, stout and parsley which were so beautifully presented and had a slice of cheese and Guinness on toast which was divine.
Although the snails were good, I think, if I’m truly honest I wouldn’t order them in that format again, I think I’ll stick to garlic, parsley and butter with my snails. The pigeon faggots were delicious though – very rich but fantastic.
For my main I did Grouse. I’ve not had it yet this season so a Michelin starred version I thought ought to good. It was. The breast meat was very pink and beautifully tender with brown bread sauce, cabbage and bacon and some gorgeous chanterelles.
On a separate board were the legs and a grouse and venison consommé. The legs were way too gamey for me – that’s not at all meant to be a criticism – it’s just my tastebuds aren’t up to that level of game.
But the consommé was amazing – a tiny Pyrex glass which was hotter than the sun, filled with a browny clear liquid that was the most comforting and warming 4 sips I’ve almost ever had. Campbell’s tomato soup and Heinz beef consommé can do one, this was delicious. The Muntjac dish was beautiful, with several different cuts of meat on the plate, beautifully pink and a generous portion too. All washed down with a delicious bottle of Crozes Hermitage Les Amandiers, Domaine Du Murinais 2011.
Obviously it being a super posh recovery lunch it would have been rude not to have a pudding and the doughnuts with damson jam and vanilla cream which were straight out of the fryer coated in warm vanilla sugar, just perfect.
Such a lovely way to spend the best part of a mid-week afternoon. I’m glad I’ve been back, I probably won’t be fighting to go back in the immediate future, that’s not to say I didn’t like anything. I think I might go back outside the game season when things are a little lighter to see what they do with their summer menu.