Harrods’ revamped Dining Hall is a welcome pitstop amid the hurly-burly

Lobster, served in myriad fashionably accessorised guises, takes centre stage at a host of restaurants in the flamboyantly revamped Harrods Dining Hall

The list at The Wine Bar amply demonstrates the skills of Harrods’ buying team
The list at The Wine Bar amply demonstrates the skills of Harrods’ buying team

The must-have accessory on the ground floor of Harrods this season may not be the Gucci “Dionysus” shoulder bag, nor the Prada cat-eye sunglasses, nor even the Dolce & Gabbana rose pendant necklace. 

Enter the store from Hans Crescent, stroll through the cosmetics and luxury accessories rooms – a whiff from the Perfumery Hall will put you on the right scent – and, instead of heading to the fine jewellery rooms, turn left into the newly revamped Harrods Dining Hall. Then take a pew at The Fish Bar, sample a few Lindisfarne oysters, sharply dressed with ponzu and coriander cress, and order the lobster cheese toastie. It will, I fear, not last as long as a new handbag: between its bronzed crusts are fat slices of lobster and warm, oozing cheese, the sandwich minimally accessorised with fresh-pickled cucumber. It is irresistibly edible bling.

The new Dining Hall – housed in the flamboyantly tiled old Meat and Fish Hall – boasts half a dozen new restaurants, including Kama by Vineet, a terrific joint from top Indian chef Vineet Bhatia, where lobster is also on the menu, either in a Chettinad-style biryani or with tomato and curry leaf, potato chaat and a wedge of burnt lemon alongside. Sea bass cooked in banana leaf is masterfully spiced, served with a coconut chutney; richly flavoured, pistachio-flecked lamb chops arrive on a golden dollop of saffron mash, bejewelled with pomegranate seeds.

The Pasta Bar, meanwhile, will serve you a pecorino and balsamico-laced focaccia that crackles with crustiness: a perfect foil for San Marzano tomatoes and fresh burrata from London cheesemaker La Latteria. And there’s house-made pasta: spaghetti with sun-soaked pomodorini, basil and Parmigiano Reggiano.

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The Grill, meanwhile, employs its Josper grill to fine effect on beef from all over the world – Wagyu from Australia, Chile and Japan, for instance – while those of the surf-and-turf persuasion can even order a side of lobster tail. And The Wine Bar amply demonstrates the skills of Harrods’ buying team: try its own-label chardonnay, from Margaret River, or (with the beef) the Barossa Valley shiraz. 

Caviar House and Prunier are responsible for the menu at The Wine Bar, which – as well as a stellar selection of caviar – includes Cinco Jotas’s peerless patanegra and various kinds of Balik smoked salmon. Oh, and there’s more lobster, either with caviar or in a salad with avocado and mango. 

For the 12 million people who visit the ground floor of Harrods every year, the new Dining Hall promises to be a much-welcomed pitstop amid the hurly-burly of retail therapy; the poor old lobster, by contrast, may not view the future with quite so much enthusiasm.

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