London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013



South London foodies should be well acquainted with the name of Sam Harrison, the proprietor of Sam’s Brasserie in Chiswick and Harrison’s in Balham. Both establishments have excellent reputations as neighbourhood restaurants of the highest quality and draw customers from all over the city to the south side of the river.

Harrison’s in particular, has recently been re-launched after an extensive refurbishment to celebrate its fifth birthday and now looks as good as their food tastes. The centre of the restaurant is dominated by the open plan kitchen and bar area, with trendy exposed brickwork walls and reclaimed factory light fittings hanging from the ceiling. Downstairs, there is a brand new cocktail bar, which oozes New York cool and will surely become home to some weekend debauchery. Meanwhile, upstairs in the restaurant, our seats were in a diner-style booth, and in front of us was a printed menu of the selection of seafood, steaks and grills, plus daily specials and cocktail recommendations.

Immediately, our attention was drawn to one of the items in the starter section; chilled crab trifle. Without a description of ingredients, our mind started to imagine what it might contain. Would there be a layer of custard? Would it be topped with cream? Of course not, it was served in a clip-seal jar, with white crab meat layered amongst guacamole and tomato salsa, looking more like an artistic tricolore salad than the sherry trifle we had imagined. The guacamole was smooth and gently complemented the subtle flavours of the crab, while the chunky salsa gave the dish texture. A great idea executed superbly. We also sampled the salt and pepper squid which was seasoned to perfection. We have been disappointed with salt and pepper squid before, but Harrison’s has perfected the dish with just enough pepper to leave a tingle on the taste buds.

Having looked longingly into the kitchen during our starters, we saw some delicious looking grills being prepared, so we had to order something meaty to satisfy our carnivore cravings. The 8oz flat iron steak was a large slab of meaty goodness with barely an ounce of fat on it, and served with a topping of stilton butter, it was red meat heaven. The accompanying fries were just how we liked them; crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. We also recommend the chicken schnitzel; a truly huge chicken breast, flattened and breaded and served atop a layer of creamed sweetcorn and curly kale. A side dish of roasted new potatoes seasoned with rosemary completed the meal and left us feeling stuffed and very content.

After two large courses, we could only manage one dessert between us and opted for the rhubard mess; a delicious twist on the classic Eton mess. Served in a jam jar, the richness of the cream hamonised the slight sourness of the rhubarb and was topped with crunchy pistachios. It may have been slightly too rich for one person to enjoy properly, but between two it was the perfect end to a delicious meal.

Had it not been a Monday night, we would have visited the downstairs for a post-meal cocktail, but that did not stop us having a quick peek. Sleekly designed with further exposed brickwork and plenty of comfy leather seats, it is open Tuesday to Saturday for cocktails and teemed with a very well-stocked selection of spirits. We’ll be back soon to experience the bar, but there’s no way we could come back to Harrison's without having dinner here again and trying out a few more dishes from the menu.

15-19 Bedford Hill, SW12 9EX

Average price of main course: £14
Average price of glass of wine: £5
Food/drink: 5/5
Value: 4/5
Service: 5/5

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