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Harwood Arms or Hereford Road?


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We're planning a few days in The Smoke and I'm in charge of meal arrangements. I've read the reviews here on both places and am torn between them. But it will be an either/or situation, as I've ideas for the other 3 or 4 nights.

Any views to tip the balance more than appreciated.

J

John Hartley

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As you already by now know John, I liked both of them, however they are both different and on reflection I prefer Harwood.

Hereford Road has a clinical feel to it and the food good though it is, is basic and imo not as good as Harwood.

Harwood has a comforting, cosy feel to it, however if you do go I would book early as from memory ,and of course depending when you go, tables are in short supply.

Hope this helps.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Had a quick dinner in Harewood Arms on Saturday night and found to it to be excellent, I have some poor quality phone pictures I will link once I have them uploaded. I have not been to Hereford but I am booked in there for April. You wont be disappointed by Harewood though....

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Could you make it to Hereford road for a lunch and do the harwood arms for dinner? Hereford rds lunch menu is staggering value.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Could you make it to Hereford road for a lunch

Unfortunately not. I've heavy research committments at the Imperial War Museum - so lunch each day will be in its unpleasant and extremely poor value caff.

Looks like Harwood is the definite front-runner, then

Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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Harwood is struggling to deal with its success. Had some great meals there pre Michelin star but since they received that accolade

the service has gone downhill massively (in particular there is a very snotty French woman) and the kitchen is not as on its game

as it was.

Adrian York
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Harwood is struggling to deal with its success. Had some great meals there pre Michelin star but since they received that accolade

the service has gone downhill massively (in particular there is a very snotty French woman) and the kitchen is not as on its game

as it was.

We've never made it to the Harwood Arms, but we have been to the Pot Kiln a few times and my impression was that, initially at least, the standards did vary depending on whether or not Mike Robinson was around. Could the Harwood Arms be suffering from a similar problem with the increase in business after the star?

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The Harwood is a very different kettle of fish to the Pot Kiln. Technically it's at a higher level, thanks to Steve Williams, the ex Ledbury chef who runs the kitchen. He's there all the time, so there should not be any variability due to the chef not being there.

The most difficult thing to get right is service. The Harwood genuinely is a pub. It's not like many of the 'gastropubs' that have a dining area with tablecloths and amuses bouches. It has a pub quiz on Tuesday evenings that I go to regularly. But it now has a michelin star, which means people expect a certain level from the trimmings ie the service, the wine list, the tableware etc. But it's difficult to sharpen these areas up whilst maintaining its identity as a pub. I think it's a great place, and I hope it sustains the level and the atmosphere that has made it so successful.

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I agree with Andy's comment. I have been quite a few times (not post star) and whilst the service was fine it was pub service rather than restaurant standard, sometimes it was great other times a bit hit and miss, but never poor The worst was losing my reservation for ten people; but their recovery was great with Brett giving up his table for us, and we ended up having a fantastic time.

Is it Clare/Charlotte (?) who is usually FOH, hopefully she hasn't left as she was always good, especially when looking after my 85 year old dad - so Harters if she stil there you should be fine :biggrin:

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  • 2 months later...

It might call itself a gastropub. It might even be in somewhere that was once a pub. But, just to be clear, a pub it ain’t. There’s no-one popping in here for a swift half of mild. This, by any of the readily understood criteria, is a “restaurant”.

And a restaurant serving pretty good, if relatively straightforward, food. One of their “snacks” is a Scotch egg. Or “scotched” egg as they rather prissily, and meaninglessly, call it. It’s a good couple of mouthfuls – just cooked egg, venison sausage meat, crisp coating. Although, I have to say, I prefer my Scotch eggs to be cold rather than warm – but perhaps “scotched” eggs can be warm.

One of the proper starters was excellent. A fillet of red mullet, battered and fried, sat on top of a braise of peas, lettuce and shrimps and accompanied by a small pot of saffron mayo. Very summery braise. Crisp batter. Tasty fish.

The other starter was more of an assembly job and was less successful. A strip of very crisp pastry, topped with smoked eel. Scattered over, some sliced shallot and a few shards of rhubarb. A little salad of watercress and pickled beetroot alongside. And some horseradish cream. The eel was only very lightly smoked (a bit too delicate perhaps) and the rhubarb and beetroot which should have counter-balanced the oiliness simply didn’t pack the flavour punch to do so. Only the horseradish cream added anything of another dimension. Served with the starters was some excellent bread – a sourdough and a soda.

A main of mackerel was clever in its simplicity (and was very similar to Kenny Atkinson’s recent dish on Great British Menu). The whole fish had been butterflied, deboned, stuffed with fennel, wrapped in a thin slice of sourdough bread and then baked. Accompanied by nothing more than a salad of Isle of Wight tomatoes, rocket, red onion and green beans. Perfect.

The other plate brought two delicious lamb chops, although cooked more medium than pink. Cabbage came in two forms – pickled red and a steamed green – a good contrast. But the real stars on the plate were the two croquettes of haggis and turnip – I could have eaten just these as a “main event”. A little “green sauce” and a scattering of caperberries completed the dish. Good pub food.

Bitter marmalade ice-cream would have been a success in its own right. Accompanied by homemade Hob Nobs, it was lifted to something even more delicious. The other dessert was a thick buttermilk cream topped by a few raspberries. A couple of pieces of a very buttery shortbread sat alongside. Good pud!

This was a thoroughly enjoyable meal which the Harwood offers at a competitive price – mains are around £16 and I don’t begrudge that. Service from the crew of young women was good. But is this Michelin starred food? Well, it has its single star but when I compare it to other similarly acclaimed places in my neck of the woods, I feel there’s something lacking. There’s not the inventiveness, there’s not the execution, there’s not the level of service. So, if it is worthy of its star, then there are many, many other places round the country similarly deserving.

John Hartley

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