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Walking to dinner through Harvey Nics doesn’t half get you in the mood for fun. I even stopped off and had my make up done in the beauty hall, a bonus of eating in a department store – especially for this frazzled mum. The restaurant, had been taken over for the night by Harrogate restaurant, Norse. Somewhere I’ve wanted to try for ages but has just been a bit too far for me to wangle.

The sparkling rhubarb was a great start and, unlike the complementary prosecco sloshed out at most events, gave us a clue that dinner was going to be something special. Tables, overlooking the lights of Manchester, were communal which added to the buzz. Imagine being on the fun table at a wedding – the initial nervousness of not knowing anyone soon replaced by great wine-fuelled chats. Handily one guest was Norwegian so she gave us even more background to each dish, which were genuinely inspired by, but far removed from the meals she ate growing up.

The whole experience was perfectly modern – it felt exciting and new but it had substance that only comes from people who really know how to cook. We ate seven courses, all influenced by the culinary hot spot that is Norway. The flavours and textures were spot on – no mean feat when catering for such a big crowd in an unfamiliar kitchen. Familiar ingredients like beetroot, cod, venison and ox cheek were paired with foods that had a few people Googling under the tablecloth. But the combinations made total sense as soon as we tasted them. Just one highlight was the shredded ox cheek coated with crisp crumbs – imagine a beefy, eggless scotch egg – with smoked beetroot and woodruff broth. It was so good that we all sheepishly drank every last drop of the broth from the bowls, behavior I’m sure the Harvey Nichols restaurant doesn’t see that often.

If you can make it to Norse in Harrogate I urge you to, what they are doing is brilliant. Be sure to look out for other food events, like this at Harvey Nichols too – and be sure to plan in time to get your make up done downstairs first.


Words by Gemma Wade (@gemcwade), You Say Tomato.

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