Friday, 4 December 2015

THE HARROW INN - Harrow lane, Steep





On an unseasonably sunny day at the beginning of December, me and Dad went back to a pub we last visited several years ago. The Harrow Inn is the ultimate olde world, unspoilt pub. A tiny 17th century building complete with beams and fireplace. Probably the smallest pub I've ever been to, it can seat around 16 people, maybe 20 at a squeeze. There are plenty of seats outside for when the weather is fine.

This is where I usually recount how we grab a menu and find a table. It's not quite like that at the Harrow. Firstly the menu is very small indeed, consisting of quiche, soup, sandwiches and a few other offerings. Secondly, you sit wherever you can, even if that means sharing a table with other diners, most unBritish. I had quiche and Dad had flan, which lead us in to a debate about what the difference is. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion, we perched on the end of a table and awaited our food.

A good thing about being a small pub with a fire is that it keeps the room warm and cosy, which is welcome as Winter draws in. I collected our food from the dinky bar and sat down to tuck in. A quiche comes with salad and crusty bread and will set you back £11. At first glance that sounds like quite a lot, but The Harrow dress your plate with the King of salads. We aren't salad sort of people, but this is truly more than a salad. It is hard to think of something which wasn't on the plate, it's like the Noah's ark of salads, everything is welcome alongside the quiche. The quiche/flan was beautiful and obviously homemade, but what I loved most was the bread. There's not much better than fresh crusty bread served with plenty of butter and we were given a basket full of great chunks of it. Any pub who gives me a basket of bread goes straight in the good book.

Eating at The Harrow Inn can best be described as an experience. When it's busy, the cramped bar won't be to everyone's tastes, but its charm is without question. You can feel the history in a room which has barely changed in the last 400 years or so. The food is wonderful and without fault, but, and I'm afraid there is a but, the menu is very limited as is the seating. If you like quiche, traditional pubs and you can find a seat, there's nowhere better. If you want a burger or pie and mash and you like your own space, it's probably not for you.

Atmosphere          8
Service                 9
Food                    9
Value                   8
Verdict                 4* 

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