Restaurant review - Second Floor Bar and Brasserie, Harvey Nichols, Manchester

Oysters and Olives at Harvey Nichols

Oysters and Olives at Harvey Nichols - Credit: Archant

Harvey Nichols doesn’t just do fashion darling, it does fab food too, as Janet Reeder discovers

Second Floor Bar and Brasserie, Harvey Nichols

Second Floor Bar and Brasserie, Harvey Nichols - Credit: Archant

The first thing that struck me when I visited the Second Floor Bar and Brasserie at Harvey Nichols recently was how lovely the dining room is.

Admittedly we had managed to bag a window seat and were rewarded with views overlooking bustling Exchange Square and the Shambles, while we sipped our £29 bottle of pleasingly flinty Pecorino.

Our lovely, friendly waitress told us it will look even more stunning when the Christmas markets arrive and the festive atmosphere is ramped up with twinkling lights and gaudy decorations.

The dining room is light and classically modern and while it feels rather expensive, the menu can be ridiculously good value with their set course offers.

We started off with a pleasing sourdough, £4, and a plate of excellent, beautifully fresh west coast oysters £2.50 each, from the ‘snacks’ menu before delving into the prettiest plate of wild mushrooms, £8, served on a home made flatbread. The musky flavours of the six different types of mushroom, which included Oyster Shiitake, brown and enoki were offset by dollops of creme fraiche and a slight aniseed whiff of tarragon.

Vegetarian options at Harvey Nichols

Vegetarian options at Harvey Nichols - Credit: Archant

A starter of market shellfish, £8, was absolutely gorgeous, showcasing sweet mussels, clams and salty samphire in a luxuriously buttery broth.

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Pumpkin hummus, marinated aubergine, feta and truffle honey, £12, was a sharing plate which I had ordered all to myself and therefore couldn’t finish. I would recommend this to those of you who fancy nibbling on something and drinking a glass of Harvey Nichols champagne, as it is quite substantial. The hummus is clearly home-made and spiced with plenty of paprika, while the aubergine has a scorched smoky flavour which takes it to a different level.

Our other main, Atlantic cod supreme, £18, was again beautifully cooked and looked very appealing on an ocean blue plate, served with lentils and mushrooms. We ordered sides of hand cut chips, £4, which were more a wedge than a chip but more than enough to deal with our chip cravings and a packed bowl of wild mushrooms softened in butter and thyme and covered with cheese, £5, as we clearly can’t get enough of mushrooms!

A selection of miniature desserts, £10 showcased what the pudding chefs were capable of in the kitchen, in this case an apple Breton caramelised cobnut crumble with a cinammon sauce, a silky Cambridge burnt cream and a chocolate Sachertorte.

With Christmas looming, the restaurant launches its festive menu from November 16, when three courses will be £30 and the view will be stunning!

Norse Food Harvey Nichols

Norse Food Harvey Nichols - Credit: Archant

Second Floor Bar and Brasserie, Harvey Nichols 21 New Cathedral Street, Manchester M1 1AD

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Harvey Nichols is teaming up with Harrogate Norse restaurant for a special evening on Friday February 2nd 2018.

Head Chefs’ Matthew Horsfield (Harvey Nichols) and Simon Jewitt (Norse) will create a seven course tasting menu influenced by Scandinavian cuisine, embracing techniques such as curing, pickling fermenting and dehydrating priced at £50 per person

Start off with options of West Coast oysters, crispy lamb flatbread or bacon-wrapped medjool dates to whet the appetite, and then get ready for the mains. Alongside the classic steak cuts and salads, choose from dishes of pheasant coq au vin with bacon, chestnut mushrooms and creamed potatoes or a Thai curry with mussels and coconut. For the veggies out there, tuck into a meal of gnocchi with Blacksticks blue cheese and pickled pears.

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