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Harvey Nichols - drama in the mouth and in the sky.

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

By Sharon Wilson

Cod - Simone Hilliard Photography

As if to welcome Autumn the Forth Floor at Harvey Nichols is in full glory. The skyline is a dramatic sweep of moody colour, and the castle is illuminated on the horizon. You couldn't get more Scottish. Simone, my dining partner, is on the balcony with her camera before we take the first sips of our Rosa Frizzantes.

It is good to be back to sample the new season menus (À la carte, Prix Fixe, Cocktail) and to see the familiar, friendly faces of the hospitality team.

Our Frizzantes are from the 'sparkling' section of the cocktail list and comprise gin, rose liqueur, lemon, sugar, rosewater and prosecco. They fit the celebratory feeling of being back in this fine brasserie after a challenging year of COVID 19.

For my starter, I choose Smoked Duck, grilled peach, goats cheese, watercress, dried sour cherries, gingerbread crisp. I like all the individual elements here but am apprehensive there are too many. In fact, it is fun to experiment with taste pairings at each forkful, and they all delicious in their own unique way. Simone describes her starter, Trio of Scottish Smoked Salmon, as "rich buttery soft salmon complemented by tangy, fresh and creamy celeriac roulade."

The sommelier recommends good wines. The red 'Ensemble', a blend of four different grapes from Stellenbosch, softly marries my duck. Then a Bulgarian Pinot Noir is served for my main course of Harissa marinated Lamb Chump. I am no wine buff but have drunk enough over the years to delight in something different. The fruit is here, but 'sous bois' (vegetal to you and me) and tannins make it a more Autumnal, savoury drink.

Marinated Lamb Chump

I am blown away by my food; the lamb is juicy, and the wedge of charred hispi cabbage sweet and smoky. Mint chutney, aubergine crisps and pistachio yoghurt surprise the mouth with texture and taste. It may well be the most delicious thing I have eaten this year. I am reminded of the chef Ottolenghi who said of his cooking "I want drama in the mouth" (New York Times, 2011). Across the table, Simone says her "cod was cooked perfectly with crispy skin and pepperonata was the perfect contrast to the richness of the smoked butter sauce and gnocchi."

The theme of 'mellow fruitfulness' continues with Simone's pudding of Blackberry Cobbler with zingy bramble sorbet and glossy berries. I have milk Chocolate Tart crowned with a jumble of sticky sweet popcorn.

Our evening at the Forth Floor Brasserie was full of the joys of life, and I am officially looking for a date so I can repeat the experience very soon. Must like: fine wine, killer cocktails, delicious food, stunning views, convivial ambience and good conversation.

Call +44 131 524 8350, email or book online

‘Forth Floor Dining will be temporarily closed, in accordance with Scottish Government Guidelines, from 6pm on Friday 9th October until Sunday 25th October.’

Chocolate Tart

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