What kind of food is conducive to shopping for designer gear?
Minimal carbs, because you don’t want to bloat and make that Roland Mouret wool crepe dress look like an undersized sausage skin.
Not too much salt, so you don’t get water retention, which might cause your cankles to billow like blancmanges over the top of those Manolo Blahnik satin pumps. Nothing that might make for greasy paws, because then you’ll soil said £720 shoes while caressing them inappropriately.
Darling, even spinach or poppy seeds in teeth can ruin the transformative effect of a Roksanda Ilincic gown.
I wonder if they take these things into consideration at Harvey Nichols’ Forth Floor Brasserie, which offers all day dining from 10am until 10pm, Tuesday to Saturday. Of course they do.
In contrast to their restaurant, where there are more complex dishes, the brasserie menu IS very light, and frothy – ideal for pre and post splurge.
No chicken wings, or overly drippy sauces or egg yolks that might drip down the front of your silk tie. There is a noodle dish, but should a single soba stick to your sweater and dry there, you could always pass it off as military style embroidery (it’s vogueish this season).
I may not be able to afford a pair of Manolos but I would visit this place for the food.
My sister and I, who usually shop charity or chain, went for the hot smoked salmon salad (£9).
Pricey for a cold starter, but this food comes with a designer label – the kudos of sitting at the top deck of a building with great views over the capital – and there was a lot of it, with stacks of rocket and flaked cooked salmon, all topped by a zesty and chopped chive sprinkled crème fraîche. The best additions to this option were the thick and slippery strips of compressed pickled cucumber.
The jambon persillade and Borders ham terrine from the £18 for two courses Prix Fixe menu consisted of a bookmark-shaped slab of garlic and parsley infused meaty goodness, accompanied by a few sprigs of frisée and two bear lugs of crisp toast.
Our second Prix Fixe dish was another easy peasy dish done well. There was a nest of chickpeas in a sweet and herby tomato sauce, studded with nibs of salty chorizo, a slick of basil oil, a dollop of crème fraîche and, to crown this concoction, a plank of sea bass with St Tropez golden skin.
Nothing to get your Stella McCartney undercrackers in a twist about but, still, rather satisfying.
My Scottish chicken (£12.50) was another simple fancy tickler. The chunky chicken had a bronze breastplate, and there was a stack of mash and a ladle full of creamy ham studded peas-à-la-Francaise, which featured crimped streamers of lettuce.
Decent brasserie fare, but the puddings are where it gets fancier.
The vanilla ice-cream and crushed hazelnut topped chocolate fudge cake (£6.50) was a steamy puck of chocolate infused sponge, and, though salted caramel has become slightly ubiquitous, this foxy coloured version had a proper hit of sodium.
A financier (£6.50) is a good pudding to offer at this store, as I could do with one of those to take me shopping. This was a coconut and raspberry version – huge, soft, almondy and topped by a cloud of airy raspberry mousse sprinkled with pistachio dust.
It’s not so much of a foodie fashion faux pas. In fact, financier crumbs down my top seemed like quite an apt by-product of my meal.
I may not be able to afford even the heel off a pair of Manolos (and I DO have cankles, as we also ordered the chips and aioli – oops, £3.50) but I would still visit this place for the food.
Lunch for two, excluding drinks, £56
• Want to try out the Forth Floor Brasserie for yourself? Find out how to book a table here