Hot on the heels of my visit to Anthony’s, I was off again last weekend on my quest to find the best breakfast our fine city has to offer.
With recommendations flooding in via Twitter, I opted for Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Restaurant on Briggate. Leaving the girls at home chilling out I headed out bright and early to sample the breakfast delights of Leeds’ most stylish and upmarket store.
Offered a terrace table on a beautiful summer morning is like a red rag to a bull and I was out there like a shot, mixing metaphors all over the place in my rush to bag a fab table. Surely this is the very best location for breakfast in the city? An exclusively small terrace with great views and a table in the sun — hello??
Anyway, after I’d recovered from my good luck (I have to say this isn’t usual for me – it’s normally… “we have this pokey little table by the toilets, sir, will that be ok?”), I got down to ordering. Much wider choice than Anthony’s and the prices were slightly better too. I never thought I’d say that – HN is good value and not overpriced at all. Top tip – the breakfast in the VQ cafe is not the same as the restaurant and I’d recommend making the journey up through the store (not looking at the sales either) to sample the main offer. The cafe serves very nice looking pastries and coffee etc.
So…I opted for the HN full breakfast, coffee and as the menu temptingly contained a Bloody Mary — I thought, why not. Service was sharp and good humoured in the usual informal Leeds fashion and breakfast showed up just after the Bloody Mary and coffee, so I can’t complain about that. A table full of breakfast joy.
The Bloody mary was bloody fabulous – tall, spicy and impressive. A lovely breakfast drink (!) The breakfast was small but perfectly formed and the Lishmans (butcher royalty from Ilkley) streaky bacon was a delight, black pudding bob on and the mushroom, toast and fried egg all on target. Special mention to the crazy italian beans, not yer usual baked monkeys — but lovely all the same. It was satisfying and show-offy at the same time. A bit like me (only kidding).
As I sat in the sun and pondered the nature of life, quaffing a Bloody Mary at ten to eleven, I felt very decadent indeed and although my quest to find the perfect breakfast in Leeds is but young, I’m worried that the bar is set too high already. Prices? Breakfast was £10.50, Bloody Mary £7.50 and coffee was £2.00 plus non optional service 10% already added.
Not cheap I realise — but excellent value. I’m reminded of an old non exec director, who used to bust my chops on a monthly basis, saying one of my fellow directors ‘ knew the price of everything, but the value of nothing’. At the time I thought it harsh, but I do believe in paying extra to get full value. It sounds bonkers, but it’s true. Look beyond the seemingly high price tag and see what you really get for your spends at HN: good produce, great service, feelgood factor and the BEST location in the city – bar none.
If Leeds is all fur coat and no knickers then this is surely the perfect breakfast to accompany this thought. So far, my quest has led me to two of the most stylish eateries in the city. Next stop: down to earth to see if ‘old Leeds’ can deliver something as satisfying.