Something for the weekend: Breakfast at Harvey Nichols

The festive shopping period is upon us so we checked out Harvey Nichols recently renovated cafe to taste their new breakfast menu

Walking through the 5th floor of Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge on a cold November morning was a delight of the senses and not just because my freezing cold extremities were thawing out. There’s so much up there grabbling for your attention even five stories up.

The amazing wine shop stacked to the rafters with curious bottles of liqueurs and delicious wines from around the world. The food store so jam packed full of interesting jars, foil packets and treats it makes your mouth water. All of these vying for your attention as your tummy rumbles and the smell of coffee hits your nose.

“A horseshoe-shaped espresso bar lures you in with the small of Illy coffee”

Managing to navigate my way through all of the temptations I finally arrived at the newly renovated fifth floor café. Harvey Nichols’ flagship store opened in its present form on the corner of Knightsbridge and Sloane Street in the 1880s and the refurb certainly references a little bit of that antique glamour.

A horseshoe-shaped espresso bar lures you in with the small of Illy coffee and sturdy oak stools should you fancy a quick espresso Italian-style at the bar before dashing back into the fray. On the other side the space is dominated with an open kitchen, adorned with white and gold tiles, which gives you the perfect vantage point to watch head Chef Jonas Karlsson and his team work away.

Keen to sample the new breakfast menu I took my seat in the window. My eagerness to scour the menu was at complete odds with my inability to stop staring out into the outside courtyard and over the rooftops of Knightsbridge. The dome of one of the buildings many rooms pops out into the space and adding even more character to the terrace.

Finally my slightly tardy brunch partner arrived at the table. I had been waiting for her outside but against the bitter cold, the lure of warmth had pulled me in. Thankfully our coffees arrived swiftly to warm us up. The lattes hit the right note with both of us, no easy task given that my guest is an Antipodean coffee connoisseur.

Harvey Nichols 5th Floor Cafe

Harvey Nichols 5th Floor Cafe

Eyes on the prize, we began to study the menu. The ubiquitous Full English and Continental were complemented with some more interesting dishes. Belgian waffles with winter berries, lavender cream and berry compote caught me wandering eye, as did the chorizo and chickpea stew with fried eggs on sourdough.

And so began the age-old toss-up, savoury or sweet? After much deliberation I sided with savoury, a side of mushrooms swayed it, but satisfied my sweet tooth by ordering on of the fresh juices. I opted for The Routemaster – a mix of beetroot, ginger and carrot (a sweeter concoction than you might imagine).

“Having finished our meal we decided to retire to the terrace for a round of macchiatos”

My guest chose the classic Eggs Benedict and decided to forgo the juice for another coffee (see, it must be good).

We chatted away, light music tinkling away in the background without a hint of rampant shopping sounds, until our food promptly arrived.

I was disappointed to find my side of button mushrooms instead of the big juicy portobellos that I had imagined; but a decent sized portion and well-cooked all the same.

My chorizo stew was big on taste. So tasty in fact that the eggs melted away into the distance, they may as well not have been there. Layered on top of the sourdough toast the mix of tomato, onion and chorizo ran away with the dish. Whilst I did lament the loss of the fried ones, the chorizo was delicious.

My guest enjoyed her eggs benedict, placed on a toasted brioche rather than the traditional English muffin. The eggs were cooked perfectly, just the right kind of runny and the bacon was satisfyingly salty.

Having finished our meal we decided to retire to the terrace for a round of macchiatos. The cold air nipped at our fingers at first but we found a strategically placed heater near the exterior wall which allowed us to have a slightly warmer view of London.

I could close my eyes and just imagine al fresco brunches on the roof during the summer. But for the time being, the Harvey Nichols café will make the perfect wintry pit-stop for Christmas shoppers.

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