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Hereford Road vs. Harwood Arms [London]

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Hi there,

I'll be spending a weekend in London in January and need a decision: shall I go for Hereford Road or Harwood Arms? What are the pros and cons of the two?
Wont make it to both since saturday is already reserved for St. John.
I am also thinking about renting a car, heading to seasalter for a day at the beach and lunch at the sportman. Is it worth it if you are in Londond for only three full days?
Thanks a lot

Tobi

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  1. The Sportsman is definitely worth the drive, but I was chilly on the beach there and it was June. In January, it will probably be downright cold and windy. Of course, if you are from Alaska, it might seem just fine. If you only have 3 days in London, I'd think carefully and perhaps save the Kent coast for another trip. There is such wonderful food right there in London. That said, day trips out of London are always fun, and you could also walk around nearby Whitstable or see something in Kent.

    1. As the chef at Hereford Road is ex-St John I would say the Harwood is the best bet, and IMO I think the cooking at The Harwood is better than St John. I liked St John and ate there a lot in its early days but the food can now seem quite plain as others have followed the "nose to tail" mantra.

      Should you go to the Sportsman? Depends on how focussed you are on food you are, if you are an obsessive then go, it is a very special place, and becoming a place of pilgrimage (and given its coverage on serious food blogs I am surprised by its low profile on this board). Best advice is to go by train, and get a taxi at the other end, it will be faster than driving because driving out of through South East London isn't going to be fun.

      Here is a good review from Felix Hirsch of his recent visit: http://felixhirsch.wordpress.com/2009...

      1. For me there is no contest. Harwood Arms wins hands down. The cooking skills, menu, service and atmosphere are all well above Hereford Rd, although I'm sure this post will be followed by many who disagree.

        1. Just on posts and reviews, I've decided to do Harwood Arms and Hereford Rd, and not make reservations at St. John. If I can make it to St. John for a lunch, I will. I hope I'm making the right decision.

          Plus, while I eat everything, my gf doesn't love offal, and St. John seems to be more focused on that then the other two places.

          1. Definitely Harwood Arms over Hereford Road for me as well. The Scotch Eggs alone are worth going for. Hereford Road was good but too similar in concept to St John and latch notch or two below in my opinion.

            1. We're having a few days "dahn sarf" and I'm torn between these two places. Too similar to try both but does anyone have recent reports to tip the balance one way or other?

              TIA

              3 Replies
              1. re: Harters

                I have been to both, maybe the stats speak for themselves: I ate at Hereford Road once and enjoyed it but have not had a compelling urge to return; I ate first ate at The Harwood last Feb and returned to eat there four times in six months. I would also have it on my list for my next London visit.

                I really like Stephen's food at The Harwood, he is doing a good job at reinvigorating some British classics, and has earned a Michelin star in its first full year of operation. Dos Hermanos provide an accurate review: http://www.doshermanos.co.uk/2008/10/...

                1. re: PhilD

                  Thanks Phil.

                  Mirrors a response to my similar enquiry on egullet. Like you, the other poster is someone who posts to both boards. Looks like Harwood here we come

                  1. re: Harters

                    I'm jealous, John. I've been trying to get to the Harwood for ages. I look forward to your report. One of my sons is visiting in a few weeks.. maybe that's a good incentive for me to book a table.