Harvey Nichols’ Second Floor Brasserie

Creative Tourist
Harvey Nichols

Finding the second-floor brasserie in the Manchester branch of Harvey Nichols is no easy task. You’ll need to dodge endless perfume stands and navigate a puzzle-game series of moving escalators. But is it worth the trip?

We’re here for the ever-popular winter menu, which the chef constantly updates, week on week, to cater for the regular diners, of which there are many, apparently. The first indicator as to why is the price. £22 for three courses and a cocktail is a stone-cold bargain, particularly in a space as well-regarded and stylish as this.

Scallops, black pudding, roasted cauliflower, pancetta

We begin with the char siu pork. This comes with slices of pickled gem lettuce, wedges of deliciously tart kimchi, soft roasted pork, and most mind-boggling of all, a futuristic white powder that dissolves at the slightest touch. Our waiter tells us that this substance is in fact sesame oil, mixed with absorbent. It doesn’t add much in the way of flavour to the meal (the caramelised vegetable reduction dabbed across the plate does more than its fair share of that) but it shows the level of imagination in the Harvey Nichols kitchen.

Char siu pork, pickled gem lettuce, kimchi

The scallop starter is a front-runner for dish of the day – beautifully soft and mingled together with crumbly black pudding, thick chunks of roasted cauliflower and thin, powerfully-flavoured slices of pancetta. It’s a murky, earthy dish, and up there with Manchester’s best.

We try both beef dishes for main. First up, the braised beef, that comes with a dollhouse-size saucepan containing three Hasselback potatoes, plus a potent pepper sauce, some crunchy kale and a single chunky carrot. It’s one for the traditionalists, with little in the way of dazzling flourishes, focusing more on solid home-cooking, done with the finest ingredients. The meat falls apart just how it should, and tastes delicious with the sauce, but a few more vegetables would have rounded the dish off nicely.

Braised beef, Hasselback potatoes, pepper sauce, crunchy kale, carrot

The flat iron steak is a true touch of class. A dozen of so slender strips of pink steak, draped with a tangy mustard dressing and a sprinkle of watercress. The French fries are just that – standard French fries, they’re nicely salted and undeniably tasty, but it’s an opportunity missed next to the flair and creativity demonstrated in the starters.

Flat iron steak, mustard dressing, watercress, French fries

The desserts do a grand job of keeping things interesting while having a foot firmly in the ‘classic British cooking’ camp. The creme caramel is a high-end take on those old school wobbly desserts, bolstered by chunks of burnt orange and wafer thin, crumbly biscuit. However, the banana fritters steal the show. Four battered chunks of banana, paired with a spiced raisin puree and some classic rum and raisin ice cream – it’s incredibly moreish, and – look away now, dieters – incredibly calorific.

Banana fritters, spiced raisin puree, rum and raisin ice cream

But the other star of the show is the space itself. The floor to ceiling windows deliver glorious views over the city, giving a birds-eye glimpse of how Manchester’s industrial past, still evident in the redbrick rooftops, contrast with the glass-and-chrome-filled ground level. It’s a laid-back but sophisticated experience with elegant food and stunning views. The Harvey Nichols name is a byword for luxury and this winter menu lives up to that moniker with ease.

21 Cathedral Street, M1 1ADManchesterM1 1AD View map
Telephone: 0161 828 8898 Visit Now

Accessibility

Fully accessible

Admission Charges

Free

Commercial and Hire Services

Available for private hire

Services and Facilities

Brunch, lunch, dinner and bar

Opening Hours

  • Monday11:00am - 12:00am
  • Tuesday11:00am - 12:00am
  • Wednesday11:00am - 12:00am
  • Thursday11:00am - 12:00am
  • Friday11:00am - 12:00am
  • Saturday11:00am - 12:00am
  • Sunday11:00am - 5:00pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

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