Hello there, hope your Monday is going well so far?
It makes such a nice change to wake up to daylight and to hear the birds chirping away in the trees again. All we need now is some sunshine! C’mon Scotland!
East is east
So, this weekend, I packed my knapsack, jumped on the train at rainy Glasgow Queen Street Station and arrived in beautiful sunny Edinburgh just under an hour later.
As much as I love my current hostess city, Edinburgh has to be one of the most stunning cities on earth with its skyline dominated by the castle perched high above Princes Street Gardens.
It’s a cityscape that takes my breath away every time I emerge from the station. I guess this is why it is a UNESCO site.
Alas though, as much as I would love to gush some more about Edinburgh’s merits, there was no time for soaking up the architecture this time round as it was straight off to my friend’s house to get ready for our evening ahead.
Theatre and Drinks
The plan for the night was to have a pre-theatre supper at the Harvey Nichols Department Store “Forth Floor Restaurant” then head along to the theatre to see “Priscilla: Queen of the Desert” at the Edinburgh Playhouse starring none other than THE ONE, THE ONLY…….Jason Donovan.*
Nothing on this agenda was chosen by me and so I was intrigued as to what the outcome of my acquiescence to the proceedings would be.
We had factored in some extra time for a cocktail in the bar area of HN before dinner and so after a quick turnaround and a slick of red lippy, we were in a black cab heading into town.
Eats shoots and leaves
The eagle eyed among you might be forgiven for thinking that I have been mispelling “4th” throughout this review. Sorry to disappoint!
Although the Forth restaurant is in fact located on the fourth floor of Harvey Nichols, the spectacular views from the bar area look out over the Forth Estuary and Kingdom of Fife, framing one of the most iconic views in Scotland – see what they did there? Rather clever (I thought). The view was stunning and a trip to HN would be worth it for that alone. Sadly, I couldn’t get a picture of this view as there were occupied bar stools along the length of the window.
The bar and restaurant design was much as I expected it to be given its locus in a designer department store. That is to say: lots of shiny surfaces and stainless steel and not much furniture. The bar was very busy yet the seating area was quite small and so it was very much pot luck as to table availability. Luckily, we managed to pounce on some seats as soon as we arrived.
I think the politically correct way to describe the atmosphere in the bar would be to call it “buzzing.” In reality, it felt about as relaxed as an airport lounge. Sensory overload!
Unlike most Scottish bars, HN does table service for drinks. Whilst extremely polite and professional when he did appear, we had to wait quite a while to be served by our waiter and also for our drinks to arrive.
We all ordered French Martini cocktails, a tradition. Needless to say, with prices starting at £8.50 for a cocktail they hit the spot for a four thirty start on a Saturday!
The bar does sell olives, nuts and other snacks, however, I would have expected to see some complimentary bar snacks being offered with our drinks given HN pitches as a high end cocktail and champagne bar.
When in Rome…
Cocktails slurped, we then ordered a bottle of Harvey Nicols, NV Champagne (£49.50) to take through with us for dinner. The champagne was dry and had a lovely crisp taste. Although this “cheaper” house brand sat at the top of the bubbles menu versus the Don Perignon, 2003 at the bottom for £255 a bottle, it packed a real punch. I would definitely consider buying it for a special occasion in the future.
We moved through to our dinner table in the brasserie and were seated next to the window. This time we had beautiful floor to ceiling views of St Andrew’s Square flanked by Edinburgh Castle in one corner and up George Street on the other (see featured image). The gardens were lit up for the festival of light and looked magical. There’s not a lot that fairy lights can’t improve in my book. Well worth requesting a window seat when booking.
Again, we were disappointed with the slow service once we were seated and particularly the time it took for some well needed water to arrive which we asked for from the off. Looking around, the brasserie was extremely busy and booking would have to have been a must. Knowing this, I really think staffing levels should be upped by management accordingly.
For my starter, I ordered crab croquettes followed by HN’s signature haggis, neeps and tatties for my main.
I don’t really have much to say about the food. It wasn’t bad; but then neither was it particularly great. The croquettes could have been slightly better seasoned and were definitely more potatoey than crabby which made them pretty underwhelming.
The haggis, neeps and tatties (haggis, potatoes and turnip) were nice enough and a really generous portion size, but again just didn’t really set the heather alight for me.
This reinforced in my mind the big selling point of an evening at HN being the view from the brasserie. At £56 per head for two courses plus a third of a bottle of bubbly, I cant really complain too much about the rest. Had it been much more expensive though, thoughts of “style over substance” would have started to creep in.
Again, slow, slow, slow when it came to sorting out the bill.
All in all, a pleasant enough evening in pleasant enough surroundings but possibly falling slightly short on the “wow” factor I had hoped for. It did however strike me as a great option for anyone with mobility issues or a pram given its lift access and big roomy loos (including disabled facilities).
The night was young
With that, off we floated to the theatre. The less said about the show itself the better. Two and a half hours of my life I won’t get back! Sorry Jason fans!!
Special shout out’s to the gorgeous Dome and Le Monde bars, both on George Street. The former transporting us to a bygone era in Paris and the latter being a slick cocktail bar with party tunes (open until 1am). Great French Martinis to be had at both.
I feel so lucky to be blessed to have both Glasgow and Edinburgh on my doorstep and can’t wait for the Edinburgh festival in the summer so that I can check out some of Aukd Reekie’s pop up venues.
Have you visited Edinburgh for an evening out? Where would you recommend I go next time?
I would love to hear your tips!!
Until next time!
*For those if you who don’t know, Jase is an ageing 80’s soap actor- come-pop star-come ex coke addict who adorned my bedroom walls when I was about nine.