The brasserie restaurant in Harvey Nichols is tucked away with the good stuff. You’ll find it deep in the heart of the glitzy department store, through the endless branded clothes being sifted through by well-heeled customers, behind the bar area frequented by those who require a Champagne break with their shopping. Head past the gin and chocolate and you’re going in the right direction; hit the wine department, where incidentally you can find some surprisingly good value Rothschild vintages, and you’ve made it. It is here, with marble topped tables and an open kitchen that you can eat. And not only that, but you can eat very well for not a lot of money at all.
We're here for the Market Menu, where three courses and a cocktail will set you back just £23, making it without doubt one of the best value deals in the city. To start we choose a silky soup of butternut squash as good as you are ever going to eat, meaning the last of the bowl is wiped clean with the bread with absolutely no regret. BBQ chicken croquettes are crispy on the outside, packed with pulled bits of the more flavoursome cuts of meat and bound in something smoky and tangy. These are served with a dip of sour cream and paprika that cuts through the richness. Two very nice starters that aren't too heavy.
That lightness carries through to the main courses. Tandoori chicken flatbreads turn out to be a super healthy choice of grilled chicken with plenty of salad and a smidgeon of paneer bound in a mint sauce style dressing that has a good amount of chilli lurking in the background. It's clean and tasty; something I'll be back for soon. A cannelloni of wild mushrooms and celeriac might not be as healthy, but it is super comforting; the creamy, béchamel style sauce spiked with plenty of cheese feels luxurious. The best bit is the bowl of Tuscan-style salad that shows off quality tomatoes alongside red onions and capers in a zippy dressing laced with garlic and plenty of lemon. It's simple but very effective.
It's one dessert between two as we share a gluten free brownie with cherry ice cream. It's gooey and stodgy in all the right places, though possibly not as good as the savoury courses. The two seasonal cocktails are nice, if a fraction sweet for my taste, and service is on the ball as expected for a restaurant that is yet to see the evening trade in full force.
I liked the brasserie here; it's clear that they understand the market and have created a menu that is full of flavour yet feels light and clean. At just £23, the menu we tried is an absolute steal, which some might find surprising in a store known for luxury shopping. As far as casual dining in a premium location goes, Harvey Nichols absolutely delivers.