A couple of weeks ago I was meeting an old friend in Manchester for a long overdue catch up. We always want good food but non-intrusive service so we can have a long natter. Harvey Nichols were having an offer on their supper club menu (£15 for three courses) which was ridiculously good value, so that made the decision an easy one!
I’ve always been a fan of the food they produce at Harvey Nichols-even through several chef changes over the years the quality has always been bob-on. And this was no exception- in fact it was one of the best meals that I have had in a long time.
The supper club menu is basically the normal menu on offer in the Brasserie but with a couple of the pricier dishes (i.e. steak) excluded.
To start I had tom yum fish cakes with some pickled veg. This was quite a starter – there were four of five small (but not bitesized) fishcakes which had a fragrant Thai flavour without being spicy and were light yet packed full of fish.
My friend had bresaola and peach rolls with wasabi crème fraiche. Another generous starter portion! Although I couldn’t taste the peach, these were delicious- the bresaola and the spiced crème fraiche were perfect bedfellows and it was a quality piece of tender meat.
We had different main courses, even though my friend had wanted what I ordered she seemed to think it necessary to order different! I had pea and wasabi risotto with braised beef and pea shoots (lots of wasabi on this menu!). I love a risotto – I can eat it until it comes out of my ears (!) – and this is one of the best I have ever had. A large bowl of tender risotto flavoured with peas. At first I didn’t taste the wasabi, but it comes in a wave as a subtle warm after taste.
The rice was topped with a pile of melting braised beef and pea shoots. Together, it just works perfectly: the wasabi and beef, the beef and peas, the peas and everything! We both tucked in and still left some rice as I was determined to have pudding. I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t even try Barbara’s Gruyere and nut tart- but she assured me it was delicious!
Unusually, all of the desserts sounded great. I say unusually because with set price menus they can often be an afterthought. We both went for bitter chocolate mousse even though we were full to bursting and I am so glad we did.
A dark, firm mouse has a layer of even darker, bitter chocolate crumbs, a perky cherry sorbet and a cherry ‘jelly’ which was actually like that fruit leather you see Hugh F-W make on the tv. This is now in my top desserts ever! The chocolate was rich and dark but the cherry just cut through any bitterness thus ensuring I could eat the whole lot!
Staff at HN are always courteous and unobtrusive and this night was no exception. My only qualm (such an under used word!) would be about the drinks. I was driving so wanted non-alcoholic, thirst quenching and tasty. Yet my home made lemonade was as expensive as the wine. To be fair, this is the case wherever you go, so I did supplement with glasses of water.
But the food was faultless and the atmosphere in the Brasserie was just the right side of loud for the aforementioned gossiping!
I’ve just had a peek at the HN website and the menu is now back to its normal price of £20 for three courses. Even at that price for this quality (and quantity) of food, it is still one of the best bets in Manchester for a delicious night out.
Harvey Nichols Manchester– 2nd Floor Restaurant & Brasserie
21 New Cathedral Street
0161 828 8888