When it comes to neighbourhood dining, atmosphere is everything. A neighbourhood restaurant might be serving the tastiest food in the area, but if the ambience isn’t abuzz with a welcoming crowd of satisfied locals, you won’t attract the regulars.
Fortunately for the newly revamped Harrison’s, both bar and dining area are alive with a healthy hum of satisfied drinkers and diners when we visit on a chilly Tuesday evening, a convivial atmosphere that instantly catches the eye of many a frozen passer-by.
Having settled into a cosy booth adjacent to the busy open kitchen, and been presented with an extremely welcome platter of fresh bread and olive oil, we soon order our starters. Salt & Pepper Squid is every bit as light, crispy and moreish as one might hope for, while a Terrine of Ham Hock arrives appetisingly poised on a slate loaded with toasted bread, salad and slaw.
It being positively Arctic outside, we opt for hearty fare for our main courses at Harrison’s. Elwy Lamb Shoulder Shepherd’s Pie is a wonderful upgrade on classic pub grub, with the usual minced lamb subbed out for wonderfully tender shoulder meat. Served with a portion of pleasingly sticky honey-roasted veg, it’s comfort food at its best.
Roast Line Caught Atlantic Cod with Buttered Leeks & Clams is similarly warming, although the accompanying salsa verde could do with a little more oomph. Still, the fish is very nicely cooked, and the clams make for a lively accompaniment.
We finish with a Winter Berry Crumble that’s groaning with fruit, while a Rhubarb Eton Mess is a tart twist on a dessert that can often be overpoweringly sweet. It’s the kind of dish that points to a kitchen staff that know which ingredients are in season and how best to work them into their existing repertoire.
Harrison’s is the kind of place you’d be overjoyed to find positioned at the end of your street, and from the steady stream of punters filling the place on a miserable week night, it seems already to be close to a lot of people’s hearts.
With a gratifyingly low-lit cocktail bar newly installed in the basement at Harrison’s and a well-judged menu keeping the dining area ticking over nicely, it’s not difficult to see why. Harrison’s was deigned by designLSM.
If you liked our review of Harrison’s, sign up to our blog below as we visit some of the best restaurants in London. In the meantime read our reviews of Novikov London, The Hollywood Arms, Michael Nadra Primrose Hill or 34 Restaurant.