Multimedia Project: Harrods Food Hall

14 Nov

This past weekend, I traveled to London with my girlfriend to visit some of our friends and some of my family members that live in the city. Our touring brought us to the world-famous Harrods Department Store (the computer does not even spell-check ‘Harrods’ anymore because of the popularity of the brand), an entire day long journey itself. Marissa described many of our adventures through the clothing sections of the six-floor megastore in her multimedia project post on her blog about style and fashion.

We soon realized, however, that there is a lot more to Harrods than simply designer clothes and shoes. The store’s recently opened Fine Watch Room houses the largest collection of watches in Europe, with 13 individual brand boutiques containing some 35 watch brands. Additionally, we stumbled across my personal favorite section of the department store, the Food Hall. Harrods is home to some of London’s finest gourmet foods, containing a vast number of fine eateries such as The Georgian Restaurant on the fourth floor and the world-renowned Ladurée Parisian luxury tea room and macaroons on the ground floor. Other dining options include wood-oven pizza at the Pizzeria on the second floor, described by my resident cousin only as “godly,” and the East Dulwich Deli, home to some of London’s most popular and nutritious salads and juices.

My main focus, however, will be on the various choices available on the first level food hall. Harrods Food Hall is currently in the running to be awarded a prestigious Luxist Award in the Best Gourmet Food/Food Hall category. Originally founded in 1834 by Charles Henry Harrod as a single room selling groceries as well as perfumes and stationary items, Harrods has blossomed into a ‘luxury food court’ of sorts, selling a variety of gourmet goods as well as containing various ‘easy eatery’ options aimed at providing a quick yet high-quality lunch. I took a number of pictures and videos aimed at documenting both the quality and busyness of this unique section of Harrods.

A brief tour of the Food Hall facilities proved to be quite overwhelming. My first stop in the court was my admitted favorite of sushi, at the über popular Sushi Bar. I took the picture on the left showing the circular bar packed with people clustering around the stools to wait their turn to sample some of the ‘selection that rivals any to be found in Tokyo or beyond,’ according to the eatery’s website. While I did not sample any of the fish myself, I could tell from my sushi eating experience, well documented on this blog, that the selection of fish was both fresh and diverse. I was able to talk with one of the sushi chefs for a minute (Note: Several Harrods employees refused to be recorded on camera when asked, citing store policy). He mentioned that sushi in London, as in many Western cities around the world, is skyrocketing in popularity and as a result, the sushi bar is one of Harrods’ most frequented eateries.


My next stop in the Food Hall was Harrods’ newest restaurant, Xin (there is no official link on Harrods website, so I have included some TripAdvisor reviews), which is the department store’s take on dim sum. As the picture I took shows, this eatery was also full, with diners sitting on chairs in a horseshoe shape surrounding waiters running out of the kitchen with piping hot dumplings.

 

One of the most popular areas in the Food Hall appeared to be the Caviar House Seafood Bar. The seafood bar offers up several marine favorites, as well as more expensive options such as caviar and lobster, accompanied by champagne. Much like the sushi bar and dim sum restaurant, seating at the Caviar House seafood bar was informal and laid back, despite the surrounding hectic atmosphere. Shoppers and diners continuously streamed in and out by the hundreds. It is interesting to note that the location of the restaurants I have mentioned is intertwined with the gourmet food shops on the ground level.

There are a plethora of gourmet food options available on the ground floor Food Hall of Harrods. See a video I took below for a quick peek into the bustling Food Hall, beginning with the area containing the Dim Sum and Sushi Bar restaurants, and then entering into the room with a variety of gourmet food options.

As you can see in the video, Harrods Food Hall has already begun their annual Christmas decoration campaign in their food section, decorating the area with a number of wreaths and lights aimed at highlighting some of their ‘Christmas’ time foods. I continued my video taking at a different area in the gourmet foods room, taking shots of both the butchery and rotisserie, selling some of the ‘most popular and definitely the tastiest cuts of meat in London’ according to the man working behind the counter of the latter establishment. Also in this section of the store is the fish market, selling a vast selection of freshly caught sea creatures.

One of the unique and fascinating things about Harrods is that, as advertised, it is a store that has everything. Putting aside the largest selection of fine clothing, footwear, watches, and accessories that the store houses for both men and women, the Food Hall is special because of its incredible variety and quality. There are restaurants offering different cuisines and various levels of extravagance and formality, as well as countless options to buy for the home. I cannot think of a comparison in the United States that has the quality of sit-down eateries and take-away gourmet goods under one roof. The brand of Harrods transcends the store’s physical boundaries, as well, as I counted hundreds of the dark green plastic bags that the store has become synonymous with throughout the city during my stay. Even as I took a whisky tour in Edinburgh, Scotland on Monday, the world’s largest collection of whisky contained three bottles of ‘Harrods’ Whisky’! 
While I was repeatedly rejected in my requests for brief interviews with employees of Harrods, I was able to talk with my American friend studying in London for the semester about his knowledge of the Harrods Food Hall. He offered some quick thoughts on the matter:
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2 Responses to “Multimedia Project: Harrods Food Hall”

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