It’s fair to say that most weekends in our household are fairly indulgent when it comes to food, but with my birthday weekend upon us, we decided to go one better than normal and head to London for a weekend of foodie hedonism!
We had Saturday dinner reservations at Gordon Ramsay’s Savoy Grill, and Sunday lunch reservations at Koffmann’s at the Berkeley (both of which will be the subject of blogs to follow shortly!) With this in mind, we didn’t want to peak too soon, but decided that a light lunch on the Saturday was in order. After a wander around Harrods food hall (plus the shoe and handbag departments – I do have other passions too!) we decided to grab a couple of seats that became free at the Caviar House Seafood Bar, which is in the hub of the ‘dining’ area of the food hall, with other similar ‘bar’ arrangements around the outside (steaks, oysters, grilled fish, rotisserie and the like). As an aside, although this is not a shoe blog I feel compelled to share the observation that I made on the day, that all of the Christian Louboutin shoes in Harrods should have been reduced, due to shoppers being subjected to “The Best of Michael Bolton” playing in that particular department!
A light lunch it may have been, but the Seafood Bar, as you would expect in a shop that has a reputation for being one of the most expensive in the world, was not light on price! Even a bowl of seafood soup with bread was £15, and menu options went on from there, right up to mind boggling for some of the more impressive seafood selections, which included oysters and (unsurprisingly!) caviar. We chose Scottish gravlax and Scottish smoked salmon respectively, both of which came in at £17 for an admittedly generous serving, with a small salad, tasty seeded bread, and a small pot of mustard and dill sauce in the case of the gravlax. Both salmon dishes were absolutely excellent – clearly of very high quality, and very nicely presented.
We had a bottle of Muscadet, which was one of the cheaper options on the wine list – that was £32, and a glass of the same wine was £11.
There were no desserts on offer, but we did have a cafe gourmand – a coffee served with three mini-desserts, more like petits fours, which were tasty and provided a welcome little sweet option to finish our meal, as did the plentiful chocolates that the staff practically showered us with after I had cause to mention that I’d waited rather a long time for the bill!
On that note, the service was generally efficient, but certainly more bar like than restaurant like – and it was sometimes hit and miss as to where you were sitting as to whether you could catch anyone’s eye when you needed to. I did become quite frustrated when trying to get the bill – Mr W had gone outside and I was sitting on my own, and felt somewhat invisible, whilst various other people all around seemed to be getting instant service. I couldn’t help but feel that the staff perhaps had a slightly sexist attitude in this respect, as bringing the bill suddenly seemed to become more urgent when Mr W returned, and despite it being me that had asked, me that proffered a credit card and me that entered my PIN, the bill and receipt were both given to Mr W (something that happens all too frequently in restaurants, unfortunately). Our server did attempt to pacify me with additional chocolates and not charging us for our coffee (it was omitted from the bill and when he was about to go and change it after the long wait we’d already endured, I nearly exploded!), but I would have preferred not to have needed to ask several times. We also didn’t find the bar stool seating overly comfortable, as it lacked a foot rest, either on the stool itself or on the bar, and I felt at times a bit like a small child swinging my legs on a high chair – perhaps that’s why I lacked ‘restaurant presence’ when trying to get the bill!
Despite that, we really enjoyed our experience. The best thing about the seafood bar is being right in the heart of the bustling, buzzing food hall, surrounded by a fabulous array of beautiful food. The people-watching opportunities are second to none, and it’s fun to watch the staff skilfully putting together the array of different seafood dishes on offer. It’s certainly not cheap (far from it!) but it’s just as much about the experience as the food, and it was an experience I am glad I had.
Recommended for the experience!
Food: **** Service: ** Ambience: ****
Caviar House Seafood Bar, Ground Floor, Harrods, 87–135 Brompton Road, Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7XL