London SW1X 7RJ
Pity the driver commuting through Knightsbridge. Wending through one of London’s busiest districts, they must contend with throngs of star-gazing tourists who marvel at the red-bricked flagship stores, glass-panelled designer outlets and camouflaged 4x4s for speedy passage through the borough. As perturbed beeping descends into violent honking, unsuspecting jaywalkers pause for a fleeting moment before they continue on their flight path across Brompton Road.
On the other side of the road awaits Harvey Nichols, a fashion emporium that has occupied the North side of Sloane Street for 138 years. This month, the department store released their new summer dining menu, offering three courses and a cocktail for a set price of £24. Available until September 30th, my guest and I were eager to give it a go.
For starters, I chose the poached huss and baby fennel doused in a lobster bisque. The creamy and well-seasoned bisque complemented the huss delightfully and its portion size almost merited itself as a main course of its own. In keeping with the marine theme, my dining companion had the oyster mushroom terrine with Yorkshire rabbit. This pairing struck us as a peculiar combination, but the pickled prunes and carrot bread acted as an important bridge between the two.
To refresh our pallets, my guest and I were treated to a cocktail apiece. My whiskey-based ‘maker’s luck’ and my guest’s cherry prosecco were both commendable in terms of flavour and presentation. In retrospect, we both could have been more expedient in our rationing of the drinks over the three courses. Nevertheless, the timely arrival of our mains came as a welcome distraction to that fact. Unfortunately, my roasted Scottish salmon with shaved cucumber was disappointing; it did little to distinguish itself and was perhaps the least memorable dish of the evening. Conversely, my dining companion’s spinach and goat’s cheese ravioli was exemplary. A dish that would satisfy the herbivore and, dare I suggest it, the carnivore.
To close, I opted for the yuzu crème brûlée with apricot and pistachio cantuccini, which had a gorgeous underlying zest. My companion’s pistachio cake with chocolate mousse, however, stole the evening. With a soft nougat texture, this dish was a masterly stroke of culinary expertise and I would implore any guest wavering over their order to go for this option.
£24 is a reasonable price for the menu on offer. While the fifth floor is airy and capacious, it is certainly worth booking a table in advance to ensure that guests can get a seat on the terrace whereupon they can revel in the road rage of Knightsbridge below.