Harvey Nichols Edinburgh Dining Review, Architecture, Scotland
Forth Floor Restaurant : Harvey Nichols Edinburgh
Scottish Store + Restaurant – design by CDA + Lifschutz Davidson Architects
Forth Floor Harvey Nichols
The Forth Floor Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie
The introduction at the Forth Floor Restaurant was efficient, my partner and I had to wait a while but it was well worth it.
The raison d’ etre of Harvey Nix has got to be the view. Just like Oloroso, the view enlivens the space and is the key force in the overall dynamic.
The restaurant and brasserie’s plan work with the view by sitting lengthways against the perimeter with the restaurant getting the choice position. Entry to the Forth Floor Restaurant can be via the shop’s lift or perfunctory escalators, or by the north door off The Walk, the new east-west street. Immediate entry is along a divided route to the north of the retail floor, separated from the shop by waist-height frameless glass partitions.
The floor is made of unusual mid-brown laminate blocks in strips, a kind of ordered parquet. The walls are simply white, the chamfered wall carrying a wide landscape strip mirror brilliantly reflecting the view to diners facing that way. The columns towards the perimeter are slender white and circular whereas the inner ones are bulkier, square and include stainless steel strips to the West.
The soffit is flat and white with punched circular rooflights in rows with a kind of opposite in dropped disks of the same diameter in the perimeter row. The former are covered in canvas to soften light and acoustics, the latter glow around the edges. Both are lit according to a light meter on the roof: this is a key feature for the restaurant. Mornings are light orange, midday is unlit and during lunch the orange glow reappeared. In the evening – or with a thunderstorm – a deep red emerges (or at least that’s what Brasserie manager Michelle advise us).
The colour palette in the Forth Floor Restaurant is clean, white with dashes of colour and darker tones. Materials range from teak timber for flooring, reception, bar (the bar is topped by Carrara Sivec marble) and toilet panelling, to white-painted walls and soffit. The central bar is wrapped with timber strips against a light gold background. Another talking point alongside the everchanging lighting are the frameless photochromic glass partitions: vary from translucent to transparent depending on viewing angle.
Out on the Terrace a single row of two-seater tables waits for clement weather: the Forth Floor Restaurant manager advised that the Terrace only opens when good conditions are guaranteed. Chairs are classic Eames Basket chairs, here with oyster-coloured cushions. Riven Caithness flags form the base with a simple strong balustrade formed of painted mild steel stanchions, clear glass panels and stainless steel top rail.
Simple very tasty wholemeal roll with traditional smooth-topped butter dish.
We both had Oban scallops with red and orange pepper lovingly decorated with fresh dill, parsley and tarragon in gorgeous white ‘dimple’ plates, a bowl within a plate. The scallops were lightly grilled – no sauce – just fresh taste.
Main course was a little late but the complimentary glasses of wine made this more palatable. My partner had creamy asparagus risotto; I had barbary duck with vegetables. Presentation was delightful with mixed leaves and roasted new potatoes in separate oval side dishes.
This will have to wait to another day with a little more time!
Service & Impressions
We only had lunch at Harvey Nichols, so did not savour the Forth Floor island bar. The noise levels thanks to generally hard surfaces suit barlife though, the hubbub of lunch being convivially loud.
Wonderful: green gridded ‘bricks’ of ceramic tiles in recessed white grout, rich vertically-boarded wood panels to back wall and doors to the two toilets. The disabled toilet has a huge pivoting door and again wood panelling, here to the back wall. The floor is of black granite tiles. Urinals are on the end wall, the same type as rogues. The sinks are unusual white ceramic ‘trays’ set off the long ceramic-tiled wall: into the latter are cut two slots. One is at head height and is mirrored; the other is above the sinks and incorporates taps and towels.
Service at the Forth Floor was immaculate and our waiter – Alan – was diligent at checking on an ingredient. The window seats were bathed in light, almost dazzling but so refreshing. Lack of music is a plus for me. The view is superb.
The Havrey Nichols tables are classic two-people squares with larger rounds, all chrome single stems with curves to base. I loved the curvy 30’s style glasses and oyster-coloured leather Sina chairs by B+B Italia.
The Forth Floor Restaurant is a rooftop rival for Oloroso: the main view – of St. Andrew’s Square – for me beats Oloroso’s but then there is only one unlike Oloroso’s north, south, east and west. With great food and service on top the Forth Floor Restaurant already feels like a classic.
Brasserie: starter £4-5 main £9-11
Restaurant: starter £4-8 main £14-18
Harvey Nichols Tour
Harvey Nichols: Forth Floor Restaurant, Bar & Brasserie, Harvey Nichols, Reservations: 0131 524 8350 or fax: 0131 524 8351.
Scottish Architecture : best Scottish Buildings of the last three decades
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