Shopping for Food and more at Harvey Nichols:
One of the biggest challenges about booking supper at the 5th Floor Cafe of Harvey Nichols is that location tucked away toward the back of the food hall. Given half a chance and a much healthier bank balance, I’d be shopping there regularly – feasting on the beautifully packaged own brand goodies and buying my supper in the form of those rather posh ready meals. Instead, I put on a pair of virtual blinkers and walk through to the cafe. Of course, it’s an old favourite for when I HAVE been shopping – perfect for a quick lunch or even for a coffee, perched on a bar stool.
The new winter menu at Harvey Nichols is excellent value – you can have two courses and a cocktail for £23 or three for £27 on Monday through to Saturday from 6pm till 10pm. And, the food turned out to be really very tasty too.
We started with the grey goose cocktail that is included in the menu. It’s a mixture of Grey Goose vodka, St Germain elderflower, lime and spritz. Nice and light it makes a good aperitif.
On to the menu, there’s a choice of three dishes at each stage. To start, there’s a Jerusalem artichoke and ginger soup with creme fraiche, a ‘perfect for Millenials’ Parma ham and smashed avocado crostini or crispy squid with chilli and lemon mayonnaise.
Of course, being a blogger and therefore a virtual Millenial, I opted for the crostini, which turned out to be a substantial and delicious choice.
Meanwhile, my companion raved about his crispy squid with chilli and lemon mayonnaise. Simple dishes like this can be so good if they are done properly – and here the squid was perfectly tender and well flavoured while the batter was light and crisp.
For mains, my Teriyaki marinated black leg chicken breast with jasmine rice and grilled soya beans was excellent – tender and moist with a lovely sticky glaze on the chicken skin. I’d suggest serving the beans in a finger bowl of some sort though as they really do need to be picked up to enjoy them properly.
The smoked haddock with crushed new potatoes and chervil sauce enjoyed by my companion got an equally good review. Undyed haddock, perfectly cooked, with a light sauce and a mound of nutty new potatoes provided a light yet comforting winter dish.
Of the two desserts, the iced nougat was the better option with a lovely creamy nougat ice cream and a light citrusy blood orange sorbet.
The exotic tart with melon and homemade lime sorbet was perhaps the least successful of the dishes we tried. The pastry shell of the tart was just not crisp enough. It had, in Mary Berry terms, a soggy bottom…though the accompanying lime sorbet and melon balls were delicious.
Maybe the pastry chef was just having a bad day. My companion ordered an espresso martini, which came with two tiny petit fours. While the orange macaron was delicious, crisp and perfect, the tiny chocolate truffle tart once again suffered from a soggy bottom.
The espresso martini itself though deserves a special mention – it was beautifully presented and as close to perfection as it gets.
All in, a pretty good showing from a tiny kitchen around the back of the cafe on the 5th floor at Harvey Nichols
The Fifth Floor Cafe scores on so many points. Of course, you can shop first and then collapse on one of the comfy sofas to have your dinner cooked for you. Like many of the diners, you can bring your kids to enjoy the special menu of pasta, mini burgers, fries and more. There seemed to be a trend for sending the dads upstairs with the kids to get started on food, while mum carried on shopping till the store itself closed at 8 pm. Or you can just turn up when you don’t feel like cooking at home and spend an evening out with good food, cocktails and affordable wines.
Fifth Floor Cafe and Terrace
Belgravia, London SW1X 7RJ