From the outside The Harwood Arms looks like some old, has-been boozer. The paint crumbling away shows the outside has seen better days. Don’t be put off as inside however is bright and airy and has a lovely buzz of noise that isn’t too over bearing.I’ll get straight to the point. Is the venison scotch egg here better than the award winning Heston Hinds Head scotch egg in Bray? In a word no. But in more words, it comes a very close second. The venison is full of rich gamey flavour and isn’t dry in any way. The crisp breadcrumb coating is sprinkled with salt flakes which goes perfectly with the gooey egg yolk. My gentleman companion and I had one each in replacement of a starter which is a lovely way to kick things off.
The staff are young, trendy and enthusiastic. Our Irish waiter was very knowledgable and let my gentleman companion try a beer before ordering. This is how service should be done.I ordered grilled Berkshire roe deer steak with jerusalem artichoke and spiced red cabbage (£18) and it was so tasty it hurt. The meat was beautifully pink and tender and the little breaded and deep fried parcel of leg meat tasted even better.
The Wood pigeon breast and pie with baked beet root and chicory (£18) looked pretty as a picture. The pie pastry was full of buttery deliciousness. You can tell the food is cooked by chefs passionate about meat. It’s really tasty food – I could eat here every Sunday. A side of garlic potatoes were a deep fried slightly crushed new potato with bags of sweet garlicky flavour.
Desserts were even more exciting. Fresh mint ice cream with bourbon biscuits and candied popcorn (£7.50) was stunning to look at. The textures of the smooth ice cream with the crunch of the popcorn and the crumble from the biscuit worked a treat in mouth. Two quenelles of ice cream seemed a little excessive though as one would have done. Saying that I finished the lot.
Baked stem ginger custard with honeycomb ice cream and custard cream biscuits looked magnificent and tasted the same. The custard cream biscuit being a crumbly round biscuit filled with butter cream. Both desserts definitely made you feel the need to open the top button of your trousers to let your newly bulbous gut over hang comfortably.
If you’re bored of a typical Sunday roast (which never fills me up) then this is the place to come. Food that looks and tastes great is what you’ll find here and you’ll be served it in very comfortable surroundings. Just wear stretchy trousers.