Harrods Champagne Bar, Milton Keynes
There's a new champagne bar in Milton Keynes!
Okay, I hear you say.
It's not the first champagne bar to have graced Milton Keynes' grid system, ah no. But possibly, one of the better calibre to have done so.
Except, when the words Champagne Bar are preceded by these (H.A.R.R.O.D.S) seven letters, it gets attention.
I like things worked in. By that, I mean I prefer getting on an aircraft or cruise ship months after its maiden voyage. That way, I know the captains have familiarised themselves with the nuts, bolts, sounds and reaction of their craft. The crew has fine-tuned service to utmost perfection.
So imagine the first day of this bar opening; I was sat in a cosy corner with as many people as the government's guidelines would allow. Excited conversations overlapped the gentle strains of music leaving the speakers. And as the dishes kept coming, cutlery tap-danced on plates, champagne glasses hi-fived each other, competing for the charged excitement in the air.
Were we simply glad to be out? Or was there another contributing factor?
The answer to this question, undecided.
But whatever gets decided, it was contributed to all the more by the undeniable customer service provided by the staff on the evening. Their first day in operation, not apparent. The food exiting the kitchen, #Instagramworthy.
And being Instagram worthy, photogenic plate after plate off the Small Plates Menu swaggered out the kitchen. As a matter of fact, the only thing that didn't come out of the kitchen was the chef themself. I suspect, rushed off his/her feet, making their first-day count. But as the dishes kept coming, from the 'Freshly baked olive oil and green-olive breadsticks...' to the 'Parma ham with cornichons' - the plates kept up the food show. The staff, their genuine enthusiasm.
The menu poses no pretence, though desserts turning up on circular mirrored plates arched a few eyebrows over smiling eyes.
The flavours they packed, uncompromised. And there's nothing anaemic about the portions either.
What was my favourite? There were three standout dishes. One surprisingly came from the dessert section because, days on, continues to tantalise my memory.
A dessert aptly called 'Beauty Cheesecake.
A dessert that literally sat me back home under the passion fruit vine climbing a corner of the yard and then the mango tree. Another favourite was the macarons - bite-sized morsels of macaron goodness. They do know how to make macarons. Closely followed by my third favourite - Belgian Waffles with Chantilly Cream (not shown though I do recall pictures taken).
Don't let the champagne in the title deter you. First off the drinks menu were Harrods 1849 Premium lagers. These went down smoothly —a unanimous vote from all eighty per cent of the table who tried it. And at 500ml instead of the usual 330ml, it could catch you off guard.
One Strawberry & Basil Spritz swiftly followed another; such was its refreshing quality.
But it's a champagne bar after all, and so it may have been rude not to.
It was at this point the Harrods Rose Brut made an entrance - dry, crisp, clean and wonderfully pink. You may notice from the lack of photos that this is where yours truly relinquished all photographic duties.
The champagne bar in Milton Keynes may be something different to its London counterpart but no less inviting. Decidedly unassuming, this is the place you want to start the next round of celebrations.
A first date here, sure to have long-lasting memories even if the relationship itself doesn't. And now that we can start meeting up and celebrating again, this is the venue you'll want to head to—the location you want to be geotagged at the top of your Instagram posts.
But since when have we ever needed a reason to go have a glass of champagne?
Harrods Champagne Bar, located inside H Beauty Milton Keynes Centre: MK