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Fifth Floor Restaurant, Harvey Nichols - Restaurant Review

Fifth Floor Restaurant
Harvey Nichols
London SW1
Tel: 020 7235 5250

With summer (hopefully!) on its way, who wants or needs heavy meals? With this in mind I dined at the ultimate ladies who lunch destination: the Fifth Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge. Throughout the month of June, (and alongside their a la carte menu), they have launched a Swedish Summer Market menu that has been created by their Executive Chef Jonas Karlsson. Using produce straight from the adjoining food market, it reflects the chef’s Swedish heritage whilst incorporating some of his favourite ingredients.

The top floor oval restaurant is reached by an express lift from street level, just inside the store. The dining-room is full of natural light with a very modern, almost space-age feel. This includes a curved pistachio coloured tiled glass ceiling and clever funky tubular light strips that give the appearance of patterned wallpaper. Tables are well spaced, with comfy cream coloured chairs, crisp white linen tablecloths, and the centrepiece of the room being dominated by a stunning, gigantic vase of lilies. The view is over the most expensive property development in London so you feel you have definitely arrived. However, if your not convinced you are somewhere fashionable and luxurious then surely the appearance of the swish and stylish champagne trolley must help. We kicked off proceedings with a Scandinavian Bellini - a wonderful mixture of apricot, mango, lemon juice and of course, champagne which was like a taste of summer in a glass and totally refreshing, whetting our appetites as we studied the menu.

There was a selection of three choices for each course - all with a Scandinavian theme. I began with a plate of cured gravid beef served with a sweet mustard and chive dressing. The beef was so tender - it was like cutting through soft butter, the dressing mixing beautifully with the sensitive flavours on the palate. My guest chose a trio of pickled herrings which were done in three different ways; mustard and white wine; marinated with vinegar; and marinated with tomato. These were accompanied with an Absolut vodka cubed jelly dressing which produced a plate full of intense and punchy flavours with every explosive bite.

By now it was becoming apparent to me why you never see an overweight Scandinavian. After all, if they are eating food like this the whole time no wonder the women are so attractive (and by God, I hate them for it!) and the men look like Greek Gods!

Back to more pressing matters in hand. My main course was a selection of sautéed diced vegetables served with a fried egg topping and a side order of pickled beetroot. It was so light and healthy and perfect for the stylish lady who doesn’t dare to put on an ounce, (not me!). My guest had a very appetising pan-fried plaice served with bacon lardons, button mushrooms, parsley and Jersey royal new potatoes. With this we shared some crunchy green beans with a toasted almond topping and some leaf spinach. He said it was a splendid combination of tastes and textures which went perfectly with his chilled glass of Premier Cru French Chablis (Van Ligneau Geoffroy) selected from the extensive wine by the glass selection. This he commented held its own without overpowering the flavours on the palate.

For pud, I had a rice pudding pleasingly served in a cocktail glass with a sliced strawberry topping with a ball of vanilla ice-cream. It was a wonderful melange of tastes, the three blending as one creamily together. My guest chose a tempting sounding gateau of frozen Dime bar and almonds which he commented was cool, and delightful. He said he had the feeling of being well-fed without being overloaded.

The Fifth Floor Restaurant was very busy on the day we visited and I can see why with its combination of a stylish atmosphere and attentive, professional service. Then, after you’ve eaten some of the totally light but exquisite cooking, you have the perfect excuse to hit the store beneath for some serious shopping, without the worry of an expanded waistline.

Louise Elgin. June 2008

Swedish Summer Market Menu is available throughout June
Two courses £19.50
Three courses £24.50
Scandinavian Bellinis £12.95

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