January 20th 2009
For some reason unbeknown to me I have been appointed Goedhuis’s unofficial restaurant critic. This may have some thing to do with my current similarity to the Michelin Man, but I think it has more to do with Philippa Wright’s three line whip. Unfortunately this three line whip does not come in a cornet with a trio of different flavours, nor is it even metaphorical. It is actually in her desk drawer and would make Max Mosley wince.
I am afraid I am not a huge restaurant goer at all, and if truth be told my last meal would be a Big Mac; although a perpetual “McHangover” in the afterlife might take the enjoyment out of lounging around on my cloud all day with a couple of angels.
But it is actually with real delight that I can write about the meal I had the other day at the Harrow Inn in Little Bedwyn. In my new career as a restaurant critic, I have yet to decide what my rating symbols would be, but if it was stars, The Harrow Inn would get the entire sky on a clear night. It is truly sensational in every aspect.
So last Sunday I, the wine buyer from J&B, Giles, his gorgeous wife Kerry and his new son Freddie decided to have lunch there. Freddie is my adorable 5 month-old godson. I thought it only right to give him a taste of some of the finer things in life before his christening and he gets weighed down with the guilt and rules of his Catholic faith.
Little Bedwyn is a tiny picturesque village on Kennet and Avon Canal, an hour to the west of London. It has been home to the Michelin starred Harrow Inn run by Roger & Sue Jones since 1998. I have not met Roger, but Sue welcomed us with everything but a ticker tape parade. Warm, smiling and inviting, the total antithesis of the upturned nose and black designer suit London seems to take pride in.
So where do I start to sing its praises? Would it be the beautifully decorated yet understated dining room? Or the other diners who all looked just so blissfully happy to be there? No, perhaps I will start with the main event…the food and the wine….
Roger and Sue are currently offering an incredible trade deal until the end of February which combines a 6 course menu for £25.00 and the ability to bring ones own wine. The menu is intriguing and beautifully thought out, not overly complicated but using ingredients and flavours that we all know and recognise cooked and presented to perfection.
Three of my favourite things came on a plate just for the first Course alone. A mini Cornish pasty, a little steak tartare and some sashimi (2004 Chassagne Montrachet, Les Chenovottes Marc Colin) . It was then that I knew we were in for something memorable.
We continued to move through the courses. Foie gras and black pudding (1996 Sancerre Culs de Beaujeu, Cotat) then a mind-blowing turbot with wild mushrooms and truffles (1997 Volnay, D’Angerville) followed by venison in Asian species (1999 Hermitage, Domaine de Colombier). A cheese course preceded a couple of puddings and we were finally refreshed by one of the eclectic range of teas they offer.
Importantly for this blog, The Harrow is famed for its wine list and its vast range of Reidel glassware. Although we brought our own wine, I took a peak at the list and it is truly a tome for wine lovers and refects Roger and Sue’s knowledge and passion.
I cannot recommend going to the Harrow Inn enough. It would now be my last meal, as one is already in heaven when they are there.