Monday, February 18, 2008

The Harrow

I thought I'd blog about something other than religion for a change; what better than that other grand staple of life, good food!

As a Valentines day treat we thought we'd try the Harrow at Little Bedwyn in Wiltshire (WEB site is here) for dinner, having read rave reviews of the establishment in Decanter magazine and clocking it's newly acquired Michelin star expectations were high. I can say without hesitation that we weren't disappointed.

The setting is slightly odd in that the restaurant is in what looks like an old house set in a row of houses in a country lane, inside, the dividing walls that marked out the original rooms are still in place giving it a "homey" snug feel and dividing everything up into at least 3-4 separate eating compartments. There's a central bar, offering the usual pre-dinner range of drinks and nuts etc. everyone was welcoming and friendly, although this doesn't come across as "formal" compared to other starred establishments.

The place has a slightly "lived in" feel to it; freshly delivered boxes of wine litter the corridors and the halls, in fact wine plays a central role here, the owners are self confessed wine geeks (just my kind of place!) - the list is extensive and reasonably priced, big oz section, fair Bordeaux and Burgundy, good new world nothing too outrageous and some really interesting/unusual wines into the bargain, mark-up reasonably predictable at around 50-100%. I quickly engaged the barman in a "wine" conversation, and selected the slightly off-beat Domaine de Trevallon (1996) to have with our meal, generously he took me on a little tour of his cellar... nice touch I thought.

We selected the full menu gourmand, about 8 courses which came in at £60 per head, you could have a selection of (icon) wines with it for £120 a head which looked interesting, but I was driving so couldn't indulge myself. The food came quickly and looked good, first off we had a little cup of artichoke soup followed by tuna wrapped in that Japanese seaweed/paper like stuff with ginger and wasabi (interesting, but a red wine no-go zone); next up was black pudding, scallops and foie gras (yum, delightful combination), following this was turbot with mushrooms (ok) then the main course which was Venison on a bed of bashed neeps which was simple and delicious. Cheese followed the main, I was glad to see some English cheeses getting air time along with the more usual French varieties, then the mini-bread and butter puddings which were to die for.

After that little lot we were feeling very full; we skipped coffee etc. to make a quick get away since we had a 45 minute drive home, note to diary, definitely need to re-visit this with some wine geek friends and make sure suitable B&B accommodation is on hand!

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