What: Harvey Nichols is moving with the times and offering vegan dishes in the form of limited edition 2 and 3 course vegan set menus.
New? Brand spanking new, this is the first of its kind at the shopping retailer, only available 8th to 31st January 2018.
Where? Fifth Floor Café, 109 – 125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ www.harveynichols.com
On the menu: The menu is simple with 2 options each for the starters, mains and desserts; it’s a little experimental for their first try with options like vegan fish’n’chips (made with tofu) and an egg-free omelette (made with chickpeas). More usual dishes include coconut and pumpkin soup, and coq au vin with artichoke, chickpea, red wine sauce, mushroom and mashed potatoes.
The Look: Take the private lift straight up to the fifth floor to save having to wander through the store (unless you fancy a browse). The top floor is open plan as it shares the space with several food-based shops, Yo!Sushi and a Grey Goose bar as well as easy viewing into the kitchen. It’s relatively casual for a Knightsbridge diner as shoppers from downstairs make their way hungrily upstairs in search of food.
What We Ate: Kicking off with the egg-free omelette there was a consistency issue as the truffle in my omelette was over-powering whilst my guest had commented she couldn’t detect hers at all, the batter of the chickpea pancake was inoffensive with no real flavour at all – or perhaps was masked by the truffle. I had been looking forward to the vegan fish’n’chips after having previously been impressed by the offerings of vegan fish’n’chips aficionado Battered who create the ‘fish’ with a soy invention covered in seaweed to give it that fishy taste and then battered. Harvey Nichols went down a similar path but regrettably went for smoked tofu which is delicious in small doses but not as a slab, luckily the accompaniment fared better as vegan mayo, chips and minted peas. For dessert the coconut rice condé felt hard to chew as though the rice wasn’t cooked through but the mango sorbet is was served with was delicious and tasted exactly like eating a mango. The vegan chocolate cremeux with blood orange sorbet and hazelnut praline was too bitter for my palate but went down a treat with my guest so the jury is still out on that one.
What We Drank: Those not on Dry January can enjoy a selection of vegan wines from around the world including a French Chene Bleu rose and an Italian Primitivo Fatalone red wine.
Go With: This is ideal for vegans in the area as a shopping pit-stop but not worth travelling to if it’s not in your direct vicinity.
Final Word: It’s great that such a well-known and mainstream brand is trying to expand their menu, even temporarily, to be inclusive of a plant-based diet but unfortunately, they’ve missed the mark when it comes translating the idea to the plate.
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Fifth Floor Café: 109 – 125 Knightsbridge, SW1X 7RJ www.harveynichols.com