Tuesday, 17 August 2010
Second Floor Restaurant – Harvey Nichols – Bristol
Can you imagine my delight upon moving to Bristol and learning that London fashion Mecca, Harvey Nichols, has a department store in the city? Y’see, those that know me, will have had me instantly pegged as a fashion clothes horse, my sleek angular frame and high cheekbones are nothing if not swaddled in Prada. (J’adore Prada as we say in Essex Dahlings). Or perhaps accentuated by the latest John Galliano creation (Not many people realise I spent some time as his muse whilst slumming it in Paris in the 80’s).
Yes indeed blog fans, I’m an utter Gok…. but I suspect you all guessed that already.
Anyway, what made this fashion discovery even more fabulous was learning that Harvey Nichols Bristol also has a rather swanky restaurant and bar. The London store has its eponymous Fifth Floor restaurant. Bristol has a more diminutive second floor, but don’t let that put you off… it’s cracking.
The cry of pirates and ludicrously coiffured 1980’s new romantic bands, (where am I going with this?). Ah, yes, it was my first thought as I walked into the second floor restaurant (accessed out of store hours by a private side lift. Swanky). The whole place is bedecked in gold; curtains, drapes, and leather booths… I know what you’re thinking, and yes, it could have been hideous, interior design à la Bond villain’s volcano lair, but no. Surprisingly, it’s incredibly swish and tasteful, luxurious and, dare I say it, as the lights dim and the sun sets over the city outside, incredibly romantic. Oh tres oui.
‘E’ and myself had managed to cram in a couple of rather good (and rather potent) cocktails at the bar on the same floor and took to our rather funkily designed leather seats a little unsteadily. We were here to sample the bargainous sounding summer dining offer, 3 courses and a Bellini for £15.
Great bread and butter were produced, as was a rather nice amuse of pea and herb risotto. A great start.
My starter of beetroot soup with lemon and horseradish cream looked like the presentation had failed a bit on the way to the table, but it was delicious nonetheless.
‘E’s Inverawe smoked salmon, new potato salad and herb emulsion on the other hand looked superb, and tasted just right, leading to a tipsy conversation about how good smoked salmon is always worth paying extra for, as the gulf between the good stuff and cheaper options is so vast.
My main of slow cooked pork belly, confit potatoes, peppers and salsa verde was, as you can see from the picture a work of art. Perfectly cooked, moist and tender, crispy in all the right places…. I could have eaten it all night. Perfection.
‘E’ being the problematic pescetarian that she is had swapped with a main from the à la carte menu, a broad bean and chickpea falafel with aubergine salad, mint yoghurt, soft cheese and pine nut parcel, broad bean and mint dressing. I was led to believe it was good. Not amazing like my plate of porcine goodness, but quite satisfactory.
The side dishes we ordered on the other hand, particularly the tempura courgettes, were phenomenal.
Both feeling in need of a chocolate fix, and subsequently choosing the same dessert from the menu, we tucked into our chocolate and banana brownies, Valrhona chocolate pots and marshmallows in a workmanlike manner. ‘E’ felt that the brownies were a little dry perhaps, but then she did have to forego the marshmallow due to a pescetarian aversion to gelatine. I felt that it tempered the dryness of the brownie somewhat. Sucks to be a pescetarian eh?
On the other hand, we both agreed that the Valrhona chocolate pots were bloody delicious, full of rich velvety smooth chocolate.
Ordering coffee, we were brought some petits fours consisting of chocolate truffles, peanut butter cookies and mini meringues, which was a nice way to end the meal.
So, in conclusion, I rate the second floor restaurant at Harvey Nichols highly. The dining room is gorgeous, the service was spot on, the food, for the most part was excellent and at £15…. what a frigging bargain! Three cracking courses, including an amuse, petits four…. and a Bellini!! What are you waiting for? You could spend as much as that ordering a pizza. So, get your arses down there pronto. This deal is available Tuesday to Friday evenings and runs until the end of September.
Second Floor Restaurant – Harvey Nichols
Telephone: 0117 916 8898