We try the new ‘bargain’ set menu in Bristol’s most glamorous restaurant

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At £35 for three courses and a drink, it’s one of the most affordable things in Harvey Nichols

It’s almost 16 years since Harvey Nichols opened in Broadmead but its Second Floor Restaurant is still one of the best-kept dining secrets in Bristol.

Accessed via a lift or escalators, there is something undeniably swish about the dining room, which is decked out in decadent golds and creams. It’s still Bristol’s most glamorous restaurant.

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And it all feels rather futuristic and James Bond with its swanky opulence, but then this is a high-end store where if you have to ask the price of the designer clothes or fragrances, you probably can’t afford it in the first place. I know I can’t.

Which is why the new set menu in the Second Floor Restaurant feels something of a bargain at £35 for three courses including a glass of Harvey Nichols rosé spritz (a refreshing Champagne flute of rosé topped with lemonade with a twist of orange). It must be one of the cheapest things on sale in the store.

The swanky Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols in BroadmeadThe swanky Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols in Broadmead
The swanky Second Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols in Broadmead | Mark Taylor

The menu has been created by head chef Gary Crossan and there are three choices per course including a vegan or vegetarian option. For those keeping an eye on their figures before a beach holiday, the calories for each dish are also helpfully listed on the menu.

I started with the salt cod brandade, roasted Wye Valley asparagus, Iberico chorizo, Clarence Court crispy poached egg and watercress. It was a well executed and comforting dish, the golden, runny yolk of the perfectly cooked egg oozing over the crumbled pieces of chorizo and warm, silky brandade.

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Salt cod brandade, roasted Wye Valley asparagus, Iberico chorizo, Clarence Court crispy poached egg and watercressSalt cod brandade, roasted Wye Valley asparagus, Iberico chorizo, Clarence Court crispy poached egg and watercress
Salt cod brandade, roasted Wye Valley asparagus, Iberico chorizo, Clarence Court crispy poached egg and watercress | Mark Taylor

Across the table, a dainty and Instagram-friendly tartlet of minted peas and beetroot mousse was encased in purple pastry with a few tendril shoots adding an earthy sweetness.

For main course, I tried the Brixham-caught mackerel - a genuine summer holidays by the sea dish with a precisely cooked fillet of spankingly fresh mackerel teamed with creamy taramasalata, wedges of salt roasted beetroot, salty samphire, fiery harissa and baby leaves.

Also good was a colourful dish of moist Creedy Carver chicken, Serrano and apricot ballotine, pine nuts, fluffy fondant potato, rainbow chard, spiced carrot puree and tarragon.

Creedy Carver chicken, Serrano and apricot ballotineCreedy Carver chicken, Serrano and apricot ballotine
Creedy Carver chicken, Serrano and apricot ballotine | Mark Taylor

To finish, a wobbly Blackmore Vale buttermilk and tonka bean pannacotta was served with crumbled pieces of buttery shortbread, tiny basil leaves and plump Wye Valley strawberries with extraordinary depth of flavour.

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Just as good was the soft and sweet charred peaches, vanilla maple labneh, pomegranate, orange blossom polenta cake and toasted almond crumb.

The new set menu at Second Floor Restaurant has only been available a few days but it’s already proving a hit with regulars and it’s not hard to see why.

It’s light, summery and seasonal - ideal for the warmer months ahead - and it’s sensibly priced so your wallet won’t feel too much lighter after you pay the bill.

Harvey Nichols Second Floor Restaurant, 27 Philadelphia Street, Quakers Friars, Broadmead, Bristol, BS1 3BZ.

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