Emma Norris reviews The Champagne Bar – H Beauty
After walking past the window of the ‘H Beauty’ store in the centre:mk on more than one occasion and seeing the Champagne Bar filled with people, I knew that nabbing a seat for brunch may be a little difficult as there was no way of booking a table. We decided to venture in early on Saturday morning; luckily there were still a few spaces available, although only on their bar-stools or low lounge tables which may be a little tricky for those with access issues.
We settled in and were greeted by a lovely waitress named Emma who helped us navigate the menu and made some great nut-free recommendations. Even some of the treats and desserts were nut-safe which, in my books, is a huge win as often, if I fancy something sweet (and yes, breakfast dessert is a thing) I’m lumbered with a bog-standard sorbet.
The Champagne Bar itself features quite a substantial menu of breakfast foods, baked goods, bar nibbles, salads and sandwiches, as well as patisserie from Harrods chefs, signature cocktails and, of course, plenty of champagne. The price across the board is, as you would expect from a Harrods-owned store, fairly expensive, but the quality of everything – from the placemats, to the staff – really was top-notch.
For drinks, we decided it was 5 o’clock somewhere and opted for the champagne (quite steep at £15.50 a glass) and cocktails, all at £12 apiece. The ‘H’ espresso martini – a twist on the classic due to the inclusion of Chambord – was the out-and-out favourite, but all were perfectly palatable.
My brother opted for one of the ‘Early Start’ options of baked eggs en cocotte with Parma ham and fresh tomatoes (£9.50) which was excellent value. The portion of ham was generous and it was served with a white baguette, suitable for dunking into the two perfectly runny yolks. My mum and I went with the waitress’ recommendation – two of the ‘posh’ cheese toasties: the toasted salt beef sandwich with Gruyère cheese, pickled cabbage and gherkins (£11.50) and the slightly pricier option of the ultimate toasted cheese and truffle sandwich with Comté and vintage Cheddar (£14). If I were to return to the Champagne Bar again, I just know I couldn’t resist either of these choices, but the truffle sandwich really was the stand-out victor and, in everyone’s opinion, the ‘dish of the day.’
It was one of the nicest sandwiches I’ve ever had, absolutely jam-packed full of cheese and truffle goodness in beautifully toasted artisan bread, served with a bowl of cornichons.
For dessert, I again took the lead from Emma who suggested ‘The MK Lips’ (£8) – a chocolate sponge (which, to my excitement, had more of a biscuit-like consistency) topped with Harrods grand-cru chocolate mousse, raspberry compote and cocoa-nib crumble. This beauty-inspired dessert was lip-shaped and served on a mirror which could easily have been a little gimmicky but, just like everything else, it was elegant and delicious. My brother’s cinnamon bun with warm caramel sauce (£6) was ‘good, but not like that truffle sandwich’ (his words) and the chocolate brownie with ice-cream (£8.50) was everything you could possibly want in a brownie – gooey, warm and rich. The attention to detail in every dish was astounding; even our post-meal coffees came with individual ‘H’-printed mini biscuits.
Ultimately, my experience at H Beauty Champagne Bar was memorably brilliant; if you get the chance, I would definitely recommend popping in pre, post or even during your next visit to the shops at the Centre:MK!
The Champagne Bar at H Beauty, centre:mk
28 Acorn Walk, Milton Keynes MK9 3DJ
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