AD PR MEAL – Our meal at Harry’s Bar & Kitchen at Horwood House was complimentary.
Going out to eat and reviewing restaurants is something that I have missed so much over the past year and a half. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a proper restaurant review on my blog. In fact, it’s been so long, I almost forgot that I start every review with ‘Dinner at…’ or ‘Lunch at…’ The good news is that there are now plenty of new places for me to get my teeth stuck into, so expect to see more in-depth reviews of places to eat in Milton Keynes over the coming months and beyond. One of the new eateries I was keen to try was Harry’s Bar & Kitchen at Horwood House Hotel. During lockdown, the hotel had a massive refurbishment (I should know – My uncle actually works there!) and one of the additions to the hotel was a revamp of the restaurant. Harry’s Bar & Kitchen is described as a contemporary, informal dining destination.
In this blog post, find out more about Harry’s Bar & Kitchen at Horwood House, what I thought and most importantly, what we ate.
Horwood House is nestled in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside in a Grade II listed Manor House built in 1911. You can’t deny it, it is a stunning setting and the house, pond and immaculately manicured gardens make for a stunning backdrop making it a popular destination for weddings. During lockdown, Horwood House Hotel had a whopping £5.5 million refurbishment. As you can see, the building itself is beautiful and sits in a huge estate.
It’s located between Little Horwood and Mursely and is about a 20 minute drive from Central Milton Keynes.
Harry’s Bar & Kitchen
The restaurant at Horwood House, Harry’s Bar & Kitchen, is named after Harry Thrower, the original Head Gardener of Horwood House and father of famous gardener, Percy Thrower. The reimagined space is now a modern, stylish restaurant with a fresh, contemporary feel. It’s designed to be an ideal destination for meeting friends or enjoying a cocktail on the terrace, whatever the occasion. The Executive Chef, Mehdi Amiri is the brains behind the menu.
The space is really quite beautiful! The middle of the restaurant is bright and well-lit thanks to the skylight, whereas the edge of the dining space is a little darker and cosier so there is something to suit any vibe. I loved the botanical feature in the centre and the decor is lovely.
Now onto the good bit! The menu is not extensive which again, I appreciate because something I have learned in my short career of eating out a lot is that a large menu is not always a good thing. There is a good selection of choices depending on whether you like meat or fish. One thing I did note was the lack of vegan desserts. There were two or three vegetarian and vegan options on the sample menu on the website. Price-wise, starters range from £7 – £10 and mains £12.50 – £30 which are gastro-pub prices and not surprising for a hotel with this location.
To start, we ordered ‘The Denny’ (£10), a pork and apricot croquette served with apricot ketchup and a garden apple relish, and the Chickpea Fritters (£9) with spiced avocado, a side salad and pomegranate seeds.
The pork croquette was a highlight for sure. Chunky pieces of pork and apricot, lightly spiced with mustard seed enveloped in a golden, crisp crust. We liked the apple relish and the apricot ketchup which added some earthy sweetness. All in all, a very balanced plate of food that was visually very beautiful.
The Chickpea Fritters was a vegan option and essentially, they were falafels as they were deep-fried and seasoned with plenty of cumin! The flavour was really punchy and the crust was absolutely delicious. The spiced avocado was a nice touch too though I felt like the dish needed something that was more of a sauce.
I am going to be upfront here and say that we were mildly disappointed by our main courses. Our starters were great but the mains just didn’t quite hit the spot. I ordered the Confit Duck Leg (£18) which was served with wilted stem broccoli, chorizo and lentil cassoulet. Overall, the dish was tasty and I really loved the addition of chorizo in the lentils which added a salty, meaty flavour. Having visited Carcassonne in the South of France and eating a Cassoulet a day, I found the duck ever so slightly dry. On the whole, it was a good dish, it just needed further refining.
Dan ordered the rib-eye steak (£30) which we find is always a little risky at a restaurant! A steak is always a good indicator of the kitchen in my opinion. This didn’t quite hit the mark, the cut of meat was a little tough and Dan had to saw to get through the meat, but I do believe this would be a supplier issue and we clarified this with management. He asked for it rare and it was more on the medium-well end of the spectrum, though some pieces were rare. The flavour on the other hand was fantastic and don’t get me started on the truffle fries! Crisp fries with salty parmesan and nutty truffle. Incredibly moreish.
Things did improve with dessert! I had a vanilla Panna Cotta which was topped with summer berries and a ginger biscuit. Sweet with delicate hints of vanilla this was really good.
Ever the classic pudding lover, Dan chose the Sticky Toffee Bread and Butter Pudding, which was essentially bread and butter pudding with a layer of sticky toffee pudding. Served warm with vanilla ice cream, this was certainly the best of both worlds and went down a treat.
We had a lovely time at Harry’s Bar & Kitchen. The service was warm and friendly and the restaurant started to fill up as we dined, adding to the atmosphere. There was a mixture of families, people on business and those staying for leisure. For somewhere that is a little off the beaten track, for me the food has to really wow me, so would I return? Probably if I was in the area. The ideas for the dishes are there, but the execution just needs a little work.
I do believe this place has real potential and they have lots of plans for the future that I’m sure will be revealed soon. They are really keen to get things right, so all the feedback from our meal has been passed onto management and the chefs in the kitchen.
Harry’s Bar & Kitchen is open for lunch and dinner from 12pm – 9:30pm. To view sample menus, book a table or book a stay at Horwood House, visit www.horwoodhouse.co.uk
Have you been to Harry’s Bar & Kitchen at Horwood House?
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DISCLAIMER: This meal was complimentary in return for an honest review on my blog. This does not affect my opinion. Click here for my full disclosure policy.