Championship Chow: The Harwood Arms
The Harwood Arms
Walham Grove, London, SW6 1QP
Distance from the Chelsea Ground: 10 minutes on foot.
Average price of a meal and a drink: £25
If you can find £52 to fork out to attend a game at Chelsea, then an additional £36 to sample the Harwood Arms’ saddle of roe deer probably isn’t going to bother you too much. I was full of trepidation on a visit to this place – I like a gastropub – but the situation of this much talked about establishment in one of the capital’s wealthiest districts did put my anti-toff radar on full alert, already primed as it was by the upcoming egregious events that will take place in London next Friday.
The Harwood shares ownership with Berkshire’s Pot Kiln, a favourite of Wolves goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, and is an unapologetic temple to the proceeds of the despicable pastime that is hunting; whilst staying true to the in vogue trends of locally sourced, fresh British food. Leaving aside the fate of its proprietors come the people’s revolution, I dined happily though guiltily, albeit from the bar snack menu due to the bustle of the pre-game rush (fans are welcome and even nylon-shirted ones are not turned away – provincial bouncers should take note).
The food is extraordinary – a venison scotch egg was warm and its occupant gloriously runny; the pastry on the sausage rolls light years away from Ginsters in spirit. The ales are also well chosen with a rolling selection and although we did not get to try the larger plates, the menu is enjoyable to scrutinize. Beef cheeks and Herefordshire snails would please Edgar Streeters should they ever again make the trip to the Bridge in the FA Cup and a warm salad of Suffolk chicken leg with parnsip coleslaw would make any Tractor Boy proud of his roots. A welcoming atmosphere makes this a great option if you are feeling extravagant in advance of your club’s cup final.