My friends Kay and Georgia immediately suggested a Sunday roast dinner when we began planning our pre Manchester United versus Chelsea match day activities. Since we are all die-hard Man United fans and had gotten seats for a Sunday match at Chelsea stadium, they suggested a pre-game roast at the Michelin starred Harwood Arms in Fulham.
They have been educating me on British habits and language, and it seems like a roast dinner means simply a roast meal, and that can mean lunch, or mid-afternoon or any meat feast on a Sunday. I obviously didn’t grow up with it and in Brazil, Sunday activities usually involved Pizza dinner (in the evening) with beers or Guarana. Weirdly, Brazilians only eat pizzas at night, preferably Sundays.
This was my first proper roast dinner and nothing better than starting with the best. Harwood Arms is known for having one of the best roasts in London, and even though my usual Sunday doesn’t involve copious amounts of meat and accoutrements, I was game for it! And LOVED it (apart from a sudden need for water during the match which proved to be slightly challenging when fighting drunk men buying pints).
Stewart ordered a starter which delayed the whole meal and we gorged on the most delicious warm Irish soda bread with tasty butter while we waited. Kay and I had actually gone to yoga that morning and had that false sense of accomplishment that is usually purely a good excuse to eat even more.
What we ate:
Home cured pork belly with baked celeriac, smoked sour cream and hazelnut: this was Stewart’s starter and very different from what we imagined. The pork belly was cut into thin slices and sat on top of also sliced celeriac all tossed in a smoked sour cream. I prefer my pork belly warm, and in one larger salad that is usually tender and indulgent. This one was more like a lukewarm salad which tasted ok but didn’t blow us away.
Harwood Arms Sunday Roast for two with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, greens, cauliflower cheese and gravy: they have a beef and a lamb option but we all got the 55 day aged rib eye of Hereford beef with horseradish cream and loved it. I tend to prefer steak to roast beef which is the traditional meat in roasts but this beef was seared nicely and cooked to perfection. The cauliflower cheese was nice, fried into little croquettes and the potatoes were roasted to perfection, crunchy outside and soft inside. The gravy had some intimidating chunks of fat in it that I pushed to the side, but it was delicious and I drenched my Yorkshire pudding in it. The yorkies actually had some braised meat concoction inside that was an unexpected surprise…but just a small portion of it and that made it unique. The horseradish cream was light and airy and very good. My British roast expert friends said it was a very good roast but they like the one at Hawksmoor even better. It was my first proper roast and I loved it.
Millionaire’s shortbread with quince and bay leaf ice cream: this was a special on the menu and was insanely good. The caramel was soft and gooey and the chocolate was very dark and rich which was the perfect balance. I changed the bay leaf ice cream for some hazelnut ice cream and it worked very well. The ice cream was surrounded by some crumbly bits that added a nice texture.
Toffee custard with caramelized apple and hazelnut ice cream: my millionaire shortbread was so good that this paled in comparison but my friends loved it and devoured it. The custard was velvety and rich and worked perfectly with the apples and the ice cream.
We had to leave in a bit of a rush for the game and didn’t have time to order the doughnuts and coffee, but I saw them parading around and had to snap a picture to have on my phone to remind me we should go back to the Harwood Arms soon!
In sum: buzzy and lively pub with delicious food and a fantastic Sunday roast! The issue is that this was my first proper roast and it will be hard to beat it……
The Harwood Arms
Walham Grove, London SW6 1QP
+44020 7386 1847