That game is what they know to deal with and love at the Harwood Arms becomes evident from the moment you walk into the room of this little pub in Fulham. There is a rustic feel; pictures of hunting scenes adorn the walls and the fire that burns away in the winter adds to the warm atmosphere that reigns here. It is a room that, whilst getting busy at times, is among London’s most relaxing and comfortable. The same goes for the service, as the brigade does a terrific job. It seems as if everyone working here loves what they do and does a terrific job as a result. Few places will greet you so warmly, whether you’re here for the first time or a regular.
Game, that’s what we were talking about and what sets the Harwood apart from most other pubs. The history of the various types of game used here goes back to the owners: Brett Graham, of the Ledbury is a passionate hunter and loves to go shooting on the (very few) days he takes off. The other man behind the Harwood is Mike Robinson, of the well-known Pot Kiln. Apart from running the Pot Kiln, he looks after an estate and delivers much of the game used in the kitchens of the Harwood and the Ledbury too. This of course, explains why the quality of the meats used here is so high.
The skill of Steve Williams’ successor, Barry Fitzgerald, is quite admirable. He picked things up where Steve left them, and continues to push for more and more refined, yet rustic British food. What characterises this kitchen is the fact that it manages to serve some of the most heart-warming and delicious dishes in town. This is food that is both fun to eat, and delicious. At the same time, it always stays technically impeccable, which is another difference between the food here and that in many other “gastro-pubs”.
A perfect example is a plate of wood pigeon and other game snacks. Stretching the range from a perfectly clear and deeply flavourful game ‘tea’, to the legendary Venison Scotch Eggs, this plate really shows what the food here is all about. The ‘tea’ is technically perfect; not a hint of cloudiness or the likes is to be found there. On top of that, it has tremendous depth of flavour and complexity. The same goes for venison chipolatas. House-made, these sausages are grilled on charcoal, giving them the smoky flavours you want of a damn good barbecue.
But, the best of all of these things is a raw slice of venison that sits atop liver parfait and toast. Barry has refined it with shaved hazelnuts and some herbs, making this the perfect morsel. It has such a wealth of flavours and textures that it will mesmerise you. If ever you make it to the Harwood, do make sure you order this and if you don’t see it, beg for it.
The list can go on and on, as pretty much everything that comes out of this kitchen is impeccable. As we said before, there are few pubs that can challenge the Harwood for the overall experience. Truth be told, finding more capable cooking of game is a daunting task. Have a few dishes there and you’ll see what we mean.