Old but new, that’s how The Harcourt is being described: new because it’s opening next Monday; old because it originally opened in 1826 as The Harcourt Arms.
Standing in a Grade II listed Georgian Townhouse opposite the Swedish Ulrika Eleonora Church, the restaurant will be drawing on its Scandinavian roots to create a relaxed, all-day modern, European menu which gives a nod to Nordic cuisine. Expect to find the likes of gravadlax with pickled cucumber and quail eggs; Nordic reindeer with pearl barley, turnips and lingonberry jam and dark chocolate mousse with liquorice crumbs and salted caramel. You can drop by for rye bread and pickled herring and cinnamon buns too come the afternoon, quite the different take on the usual 4pm tea and biscuits – check you out changing things up.
Picked by Finbar Naumann (River Café, Newman Street Tavern) the wine list will include both old and new-world wines with a Mediterranean character with the likes of Rieslings, Grüner Veltliners and Burgundies making the list as well as rare, organic and biodynamic wines; an extensive whisky list; draught beers including Stiegl and cocktails designed by Swedish -born Tess Petterson. Having created cocktails in Melbourne, Norway and Sweden Tess is now turning her mixology skills to London and The Harcourt will be serving the likes of The Freudian Slip – a bittersweet cocktail made from Hallands Fläder Aquavit, Briottet lychee liquor, Belvoir Elderflower presse, lemon juice and Prosecco.
Original 19th century features such as the elegant panelling and leaded windows have been conserved and will blend in with the boutique chic feel created by interior designers Samantha Palmer and Andrew Endean. If you’re looking for choice in where to dine or planning an event then keep The Harcourt on your radar it features several private dining rooms.
Perhaps you want casual dining, if so then pull up a pew in the ground floor Oak Room which has a country-house, drawing-room feel – think dark, rich wood and parquet flooring. Or with sunny days on the horizon then head to the Summer Room and the Garden Room, with rattan furniture, green tones, trailing hanging plants, ivy-clad walks and hanging bell jar lanterns it has a more colonial feel to it. A grand, opulent dining room makes up one of the two private dining rooms on the first floor whilst the other is more intimate with space for just 10. Swedish touches such as the Dala horse statuette will be joined by collectable contemporary Western and non-Western art from the likes of Rebecca Jewell and Phil Shaw; whilst Melody Rose has created luxury hand-finished bone-china tableware.
Normally we’re not ones to live in the past, too many mistakes and questionable choices made, but for the sake of a new restaurant and The Harcourt we’ll take that risk.
The Harcourt: Opens 4th April 2016, Harcourt Street, W1H 4HX, www.theharcourt.com
Photo: Paul Winch-Furness