The Harwood Arms part II, London

Sunday roast can be eaten in a fair number of restaurants in London, but few do it better than the Harwood Arms. My previous post described their dinner menu, which changes a lot by the way, so don’t expect to see the same dish again. This time, I’ll write about the Sunday roast. The place was absolutely packed when we got there at 3.25pm (!), and people came until about 4pm, so book very early if you want to eat lunch here. At the moment they’re booked out 6 weeks ahead for lunch, and 4 weeks for the evening.

In terms of wine, we started with a 2005 Puligny Montrachet from the brilliant domaine Leflaive. This was a really stunning wine. It needed a little bit of time to get going, but after a good 15min, it was simply exquisite. Quite concentrated for a village wine (which you could expect at this price!), with well-integrated oak, and beautifully balanced fruit and acidity. Just the kind of stuff I like! After this, we moved to something I found at Berry’s, a 2005 Monthelie 1er cru “Les Duresses” from another legendary domaine: Domaine des Comtes Lafon. This was an easy drinking wine. Just right for a Sunday lunch.

To start off with, I had deep-fried brawn, which I was told was pretty much everything from the pig’s head breaded and depp-fried. I love these slightly more interesting parts of the animals, and this was no deception. On the contrary, it was a stunning little cromesquis, as one would call it in French. Outstanding (not to mention THE ever brilliant egg).

Next up we were brought a pumpkin soup with a cheese stick. The soup was great, and worked beautifully with the Puligny. It was quite thick in terms of consistency, and well-seasoned. A few roasted nuts gave it some crunch, and the cheese stick was not to be left alone neither. Very good.

My starter was a roe deer and walnut terrine with prunes. As one could expect from a pub, sepcialising in game, this was very good. It had loads of flavour, and a beautiful soft texture, which still had some bite to it. Nothing to criticise here…

Up next was an intriguing dish: A braised shoulder of venison was breaded and deep-fried, upon it was sat a grilled chop. This was served with a bit of champ and a jus. The shoulder was simply decadent, unctuous, tasty and crispy on the outside: Great stuff! The chop was cooked perfectly, and was just as tender, as one would have imagined good venison to be! Excellent.

The main course was a roast pork belly with black pudding, some kind of mash, and a little salad. It was quite a substantial portion, but it was great. The belly was wrapped around a piece of black pudding, and cooked long enough to become nicely tender, whilst the outside was just about to be crispy (it could have been a little more crispy). The mash was served in a way too big portion again, but you simply can’t leave an unfinished plate, can you? That’s not what you do. Very good.

A bit of cheese was ordered to finish the red wine. There were a few fine British cheeses, whose purveyor I have omitted to write down.

Dessert today was a bit of poached rhubarb with a pepper sorbet. This was just what one needs after quite a big meal: Light, refreshing, a little tart and reminding us that spring is lurking around the corner.

What can I say about this meal? Food wise, there’s not much to criticise, the pork belly could have been a bit more crispy, the rest was just faultless. This is food, you can’t really criticise, and therefore I love this place. Service isn’t like in most other 1* places, but relaxed, smiling, without any fuss and brings all you need directly. What more can one ask for?

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