Sunday, May 8, 2016

London's Only Michelin Starred GastroPub!

The Harwood Arms
On an unpretentious side street in an upper middle class neighborhood in London's southwest area of Fulham is the only pub in the city to have obtained a Michelin Star. Featuring locally procured produce, game and fish, The Harwood Arms combines the relaxed atmosphere of a typical London pub with the gastronomic delights expected of a Michelin Starred venue - a true "gastropub".

I was in London for a conference and had an extra day - that I would normally spend seeing a play or two in the West End theaters! A friend and London resident, Jane, suggested Brunch before I trekked off to TKTS and the theatre. I hadn't seen Jane in a while and it offered the opportunity to catch up, so I readily agreed! She suggested The Harwood Arms, having been there recently for dinner with another mutual friend. She thought that a Saturday Brunch might prove just the time to enjoy the pub...as well as enjoy the nearby Fulham Saturday Market, and still leave plenty of theatre time for me. I was staying near Westminster, so it turned out to be a simple tube ride on the District Line towards Wimbledon...boarded at St. James Park and met Jane at Fulham Broadway. A short walk later we were at the pub.


The Brunch Menu
In typical pub style, I started with a pint of good hand-pulled, cellar temperature English Ale as we perused the brunch menu. The restaurant offered either two or three courses.  Jane and I both opted for the two course option, deciding to omit the starter, have a main and a "pudding" (dessert for my American friends). 


The Specials
It was a tough choice. Besides the standard menu, there were additional choices laid out on a "specials" board. I opted for the Cornish sea bream with baby shallots, Jerusalem artichokes and very unique pickled mussels. Jane chose the Haunch of Berkshire venison with wild garlic, baked beetroot and smoked bone marrow tart.

My sea bream was wonderfully moist and I think the best part was the fish skin...crisp and savory. The mussels had just the right amount of acidic pickling to complement the slight sweetness of the fish. Jane didn't say much as she focused on consuming four beautiful slices of perfectly cooked and presented venison. There was silence for a good while as we consumed our brunch accompanied by a very nice Luigi Bosca DOC Single Vineyard 2013 Argentinean Malbec.


The Rhubarb Soufflé
The highlight of the meal came with the pudding. Both Jane and I opted for a hot rhubarb soufflé into which was inserted a generous scoop of a fine vanilla ice cream. This was one of the lightest and tangiest soufflés I have ever tasted. Everything just melted in your mouth leaving a very pleasant aftertaste of tart rhubarb and sweet vanilla!

Head Chef Alex Harper has certainly earned his Michelin Star in my mind. If you are in London, check out The Harwood Arms at: http://www.harwoodarms.com .

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