StyleNest writer and the man behind one of our favourite columns, Dad-up paid a visit to the newly refurbished fine dining Forth Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh.
We have long since been fans of the Edinburgh Harvey Nicks in the decade since it opened its doors. Shopping, events, sales, lunches, teas and coffees, and general meandering has meant at times that one of our family may have been as well working there for much of that time.
On a recent Friday, though, the boss (my better half, Jayne) and I had a new experience there. Sans Oran and Tallulah, we went for dinner at the recently refurbed Forth Floor Restaurant. Part of the recent TLC lavished on the Forth Floor has meant a significant facelift for the bar, and revamp of the brasserie, which I have already heaped praise upon here.
One of the most significant changes, though, save for the addition of the Seafood Bar, as a greater demarcation between the brasserie and fine dining restaurant on the Forth Floor.
This became clear as we were escorted by the charming staff to a beautiful corner table with Edinburgh Castle perched upon the boss’s shoulder, and space aplenty at every turn.
I confess to not being a suitable gourmand to do full credit to a meal which was stunning from start to finish. As much as I wax lyrical about the amuse bouche, and shared starter of seared hand-dived scallop with smoked harises, horseradish crisp, dried rose petal yogurt, sauteed calimari, ginger and lemongrass cream I will fail to do them justice. Whatever superlatives fall before the stunning mains of Pan-fried wild sea-bass with saffron potatoes, samphire, parmesan shortbread, mussels, clams and vanilla bisque. Breast of guinea fowl, potato wrapped confit leg, mushroom duxelle, molasses, hazelnut and madeira reduction will scarcely reach the highs the chef had so artfully. The casual decadence of the Bounty inspired dessert would have the box waxing lyrical; coconut cream, coconut daiquiri, chocolate sponge and coconut ice-cream was a joyous conclusion.
I may fare slightly better with the wines, expertly hinted at rather than recommended by a sommelier high on charm, listening and engaging with what would suit us best, and making us feel that we had some level of competence in choosing wines perfect for our meal. The half bottles of Vina Ardanza Reserve Rioja and Domiane Vincent Dampt Chablis were companions as perfect as the boss on such an evening.
However, I think there is one area with which I may be able to do Harvey Nichols justice. Speaking to the staff, it is clear that they pride themselves on being distinct from certain other fine dining experiences. Not as stuffy. Dare one say it, fun. There is a very tangible aesthetic which helps to create such a memorable experience. It comes from the easy charm of each member of staff as well as the stunning surroundings; from the attention to detail which runs through every aspect, while making guests fell just that- welcome. Make no mistake, there is substance aplenty to go with the great style you would expect at Harvey Nichols – it comes from a beautifully presented, expertly cooked food served by people who appear to love their jobs, and are quietly delighted you’re there enjoying your evening with them. Dining doesn’t get much finer than that for me.