Dining with a nod to the past

Posted 10th September 2021

Pulse food writer Emma Norris has ventured out to Little Horwood to sample the delights of Harry’s Bar and Kitchen at Horwood House.

Last month I was lucky enough to be invited to the newly-refurbished restaurant situated in the picturesque surroundings of Horwood House Hotel which correctly claims to combine ‘heritage, comfort and warm, friendly service.’ The Grade II listed Manor House has recently undergone a £5.5 million overhaul, including a big change-up to their in-house restaurant. Harry’s Bar and Kitchen, named after Harry Thrower (the original Head Gardener of Horwood House and father of famous gardener, Percy Thrower) has been re-imagined with a modern, ‘indoor-outdoor’ aesthetic; the roof is lined with hanging greenery and there is also an exterior terrace with beautiful views of the grounds which, due to the classic English summer weather, I was unfortunately unable to visit. The restaurant itself is headed by Executive Chef Mehdi Amiri who, according to our really lovely server Ellie, trained under Gordon Ramsay. The minimalist menu has a strong focus on local, British produce. 

Duck Starter

We started the evening with two glasses of a particularly nice, dry Prosecco (at a very reasonable £6.75) before cracking open a bottle of Mirabeau rosé – which is always a winner in my book! First up were our two favourite dishes of the evening – the starters. My choice was the Crispy Duck Hash (£9): a charred sourdough slice topped with pickled kimchi, crispy duck leg pieces and a ginormous fried duck egg with a perfectly runny yolk which was, in my opinion, the stand-out dish of our whole meal. We also really enjoyed the tasty (and particularly photogenic!) Enoki Mushroom Bao Bun with coriander, ponzu and soy dressing for £8.

For mains, my mum chose the very-aesthetically-pleasing Pan-Fried Stone Bass for £18 – it was flaky, succulent and cooked to perfection, served with salsa verde, buttered crispy potatoes and local asparagus. I opted for a far less elegant option – ‘Harry’s burger’ (£16) – a giant Aberdeen Angus patty in a brioche bun topped with melted cheddar, beer-braised onions, bacon (too undercooked for me, but then I do like it burnt to a crisp!) and house fries (which I have to admit, along with their ‘fancy’ counterpart, truffle-parmesan fries, were slightly disappointing). There were other options that looked really delicious heading to other tables too – I particularly liked the look of the Duck Leg and Lentil Cassoulet (but thought I might actually start quacking if I ordered yet more duck)!

For dessert we were really stuffed – we both went for the £6 selection of local ‘Mursley Farm’ ice-creams made just around the corner from Horwood House, served with a really tart and tangy berry compote. We were hoping to enjoy an after-dinner cocktail or two but Ellie informed us that the staff were having mixology training later on in the week and didn’t yet have any on offer. 

I can’t believe that this hidden gem was nestled so secretly in the Milton Keynes countryside; I can’t wait to re-visit when the weather is warmer and brighter to try some more delicious food (and a highly-anticipated cocktail!) on Harry’s Terrace with views over the historical gardens. Thank you for the visit Horwood House – I’ll be back soon!

Harry’s Bar and Kitchen at Horwood House
Tel: 01296 722100

> To ask Emma to review your restaurant email mkpulse@pulsegroupmedia.co.uk