Harvey Nichols is a place which i have discovered that many people know little about. This is somewhat confusing considering Harvey Nichols is a place for luxury, quirkiness and food. Take the lift straight up to the fifth floor if you’re hungry otherwise you will fall into the trap of looking at everything lovely whilst you are starving!
Taking centre stage of the Fifth Floor Cafe & Terrace is a floral bloom in and amongst orange and green accents. The staff are welcoming and extremely professional and there apparent to be very little snobbery which i have often found at restaurants of such finesse. The clientele range from day-outers like us, business men and women and ladies who lunch. The perfect mix. Our seating hostess, appearing rather sharp and severe in her manner and appearance, was quite the opposite. She spend some time looking for the exact right table for us, which i like in comparison to the places that shove you in the corner.
The room is large and airy and bright and set within the food hall and alongside the Sushi restaurant, you do wonder whether this setting is right for fine dining. But on a summers day, it’s the perfect place for food in the city. Go by yourself or with a group, either way, you will be well looked after.
Within a minute, our drinks orders were taken and our faces pressed so far into the menu full of sumptuous dishes, we contemplated ordering them all.
For many minutes, we sat contemplating between the variety of dishes. Starters, sides, sandwiches, salads, there is site a lot of choice, and with some enticing dishes including that of: Pigeon, quail, scallops and chicken, accompanied by everything from roast vegetables and an array of exclusive sauces. We settle on two starters and two sides. Not the most adventurous of choices or the most large of dishes, however with the heat of London weather, it was all we could face eating at the time. We did have a momentary panic wondering if we had ordered enough, but there would then be space for dessert, so we stuck to our choices.
The plates (and slate) arrived. They took some time, as we found out through taste of course, all was made fresh and thus worth the wait. The presentation was unsurpassable and we had yet another panic of whether the food would be enough… It was. My goats cheese parfait was not too cheesy, balanced out with the right amount of garlic and herbs. I do not like beetroot very often, so ordering a dish with so much was not my best decision, however i had not tasted it quite like this. I could tell from the quality that it was high; I could have eaten tons more of the stuff! It was delicate and contributed the parfait very well balancing out the harsh taste of garlic. The poached quails eggs were perfectly runny in the middle, just the way an egg should be. Sweet in taste, and of course in size. The scattering of beetroot and cress was a nice little addition, scooping up every morsel with bits of egg. The hazelnut dressing was subtle, a little too subtle, but considering the plethora of flavours upon my slate, it was quite okay. The pigeon was tasty and delicate, though if a little difficult to cut with the knife provided, though i wonder if it was just me. The selection of vegetables were pleasing and nothing needed salt with thanks to them being beautifully honey-soused, though i doused all in pepper, considering i do that with everything. The leaves were an unnecessary addition but they did look attractive. The pine-nut and game jus added body and a more gamey flavour with the pine nut balancing out the sometimes overpowering taste of game such as pigeon or more often pheasant for example. The steamed spinach was as good as steamed spinach will ever be. The zucchini chips on the other hand were the highlight of the entire meal. Courgettes have a tendency to taste bitter when i order them as fries. Its a curse, but i chanced it and i’m glad. They were cut not too thin, not too thick and cut into circular slices, making them feel a little fancy one supposes. There were plenty of them (though i could have eaten twenty more bowls) and they were beautifully seasoned. Despite the small size of dishes, our stomachs were content. For an evening meal, or a more filling one, i would recommend adding another side or platter or of course having a main meal to follow, but for a late lunch after eating scones at the V&A, it was perfect. It is one of the places one must go. I’m certainly going back as i have a list of more of what i want to try and as atmosphere goes, it’s all pretty good. Attentive staff, organised and friendly, not to mention the great combinations of food. The desserts which floated past our table looked great and we regret having no room for any. What we ordered: Herb goats cheese parfait, beetroot & poached Quails eggs (£10.50- starter) Pigeon (£9.75-starter) Steamed spinach (£4.00- side) Zucchini Chips (£4.50- side) Bill: £32.34 (with service at 12.5%)