Review by Collette Dyson.
In the process of putting together our Guide To Michelin Star Restaurant’s in the West Country, we came across some truly spectacular establishments serving food at the forefront of British fine dining. One such restaurant was The Harrow at Little Bedwyn. Situated in rural Wiltshire, this highly rated restaurant has been receiving worldwide accolades for the quality of its food. Owned and run by Sue and Roger Jones, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this Autumn, so we thought it was time to pay them a visit…
Where is The Harrow at Little Bedwyn?
Situated in the lush Malborough countryside, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn is slightly off the beaten track but well located for trips to and from London (or if you’re treating yourself to a spot of retail therapy in nearby Swindon). Surrounded by fields, picturesque little villages and even a canal, The Harrow at Little Bedwyn is perfect for an overnight stay in the country. Although they don’t offer accommodation themselves, they have put together a fabulous selection of local places to stay on their website – ranging from a quirky tree house overlooking the Kennet & Avon Canal to a unique canal boat, equipped with whirlpool bath.
Decor & Atmosphere
From the outside, you’d half expect to walk inside and step into the past. The Harrow looks like a quaint little village inn, the likes of which are often found on BBC dramas. Instead, you’re met with a smart-yet-understated fine dining restaurant, complete with a bar and tables set with crisp white tablecloths. The restaurant received its first Michelin Star in 2006 and has retained one ever since. It has the capacity to seat up to 34 guests in either of its two dining rooms and in the summer months, there is a lovely garden where one can enjoy alfresco dining.
Food & Wine
The Harrow at Little Bedwyn offers a set five, six or eight-course lunch and can cater for celiacs, pescetarians, vegans and vegetarians. With a staggering 900 bin wine list, it’s safe to say that Rodger’s passion for wine goes beyond the average restaurateur. As a consultant and contributor to various publications, Rodger is also a regular judge on many prestigious panels, including The Decanter World Wines Awards, representing Australia.
Because we love the element of surprise, we opted to have chef decide what to serve us for lunch. This began with a plate of Sourdough Bread and Butterbean & Five Spice Butter. Next, we were treated to a tasty morsel of Tuna on Smoked Cod Roe to whet the appetite.
Diver Caught Orkney Scallop, Exmoor Caviar, Blanc de Blanc Cream.
Our first course was a wonderfully plump scallop on a bed of tiny asparagus discs, burblanc and Exmoor caviar. Don’t be fooled by the sound of this simple dish, I savoured every delicious mouthful of the soft meaty scallop, together with it’s lovely sweet & salty elements.
Next, we enjoyed Sea Bream served on cubes of avocado topped with a quenelle of wasabi sorbet, yuzu, & green caviar. This dish was spectacular in every sense of the word. Everything ate beautifully together, with an element of surprise in each mouthful due largely to the tangy yuzu.
Lobster tail with spaghetti courgette & Asian spices was our next dish. I can usually take or leave lobster but not when it’s served the way The Harrow serves it. The flavours were wonderful and once again my palate was treated to little bursts of loveliness from the delicate tempura claw to the beautifully fragrant, lightly spiced sauce.
Lamb was the main event of our lunch and it came in the form of both a piece of succulent meat and a lamb bonbon, mint couscous, carrot purée, tomato’s lamb jus & hummus. This was well executed and full of flavour. I loved the bonbon and I could have happily eaten two or three of these with just the jus and been perfectly happy.
The rather curiously named Boiled Egg and Soldiers was our penultimate dish and what a showpiece it was! This lovely pre-dessert is a real winner, with crisp, melt-in-the-mouth shortbread and a soft, not too sweet ‘boiled egg’ centre.. I don’t want to give away too much here, so definitely be sure to try it yourself. Dessert was a celebration of strawberries and arrived as a plate full of strawberry delights, including an amazing soufflé.
I would highly recommend The Harrow at Little Bedwyn. Sue and her knowledgeable front of house team are truly welcoming and they offer some of the best hospitality I’ve encountered. Our waiter was able to explain the provenance of each of the ingredients in our meal and his overall knowledge of the food was very impressive. Without a doubt, wine is a passion for Sue and Rodger and at The Harrow, you can rest assured that the wines you are served are expertly paired with your meal. We did find ourselves a little bit envious of our fellow dinners, as we could hear them cooing over each glass that accompanied their taster menu. Unfortunately for us, we had to abstain as we were driving. Lunch rarely gets much better than this, so make sure that you pay The Harrow at Little Bedwyn a visit if you’re after a quality, fine-dining experience.