A little bit of decadence never did anyone any harm, right? Especially when that decadence involves champagne tasting, Nordic cuisine and a bill of only £40 per person. You would be a fool to turn such an evening down, would you not?
I am certainly no fool, so I happily took myself off to Harrogate last Thursday for a magical evening at The Champagne Concept and Norse – two next door neighbours who have combined forces to make your February that little bit more sparkly for just £36 per person. Now, if you’ve been around these parts a while, you might have heard of Norse. By day, a Scandinavian-inspired coffee shop called Baltzersen’s, which is very pleasant indeed. But by night? They transform into a bijou restaurant serving seasonal, experimental Nordic food that will blow your mind. Truly one of Yorkshire’s greatest foodie assets, and one you absolutely must try. The Champagne Concept are newbies on the block, a little tasting bar and shop serving up champagne made by small producers. It’s a match made in heaven, let me assure you.
We stopped at The Champagne Concept first to try their signature flight of champagne (what else?). Since Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, they were all pink champagnes, which was a lovely little touch (and would make a sweet little Valentine’s outing if you’re Harrogate-based). They were expertly described to us, and then we were left to our own devices to try them out at our leisure. The first was a Chardonnay, light and clean as you’d expect, the second, a Pinot Noir with wonderful berry flavours, and the third a rich Pinot Meunier. The Pinot Noir was surprisingly my favourite – I usually prefer a dry wine, but the strawberry notes were just delicious. The champagne tasting on its own would be a wonderful treat, and with the signature flight only £12, I have no doubt that I’ll be back for more!
However, that wasn’t all we had in store for the evening. We quickly nipped next door and took our table at Norse, immediately drooling over the menu. It really is like nowhere else, and I can assure you that everything on the menu is wonderful. It was almost impossible to pick out of the options, so we ordered two between us for each course and swapped half way through each dish. It was a wrench to do so, as each plate was impossibly perfect, but it was worth it to experience as much as possible of the menu. We started with two delicious shots of schnapps – one was beetroot (surprisingly good for something so savoury) and an apple (which was like drinking an American apple pie!).
It feels a waste to describe each dish to you here; because the menu is seasonal, you may discover something if you are to visit. However, I have never had anything there that I didn’t love. Each one is a riot of flavours, textures and colours (in the best way) with inventive, surprising touches that make the whole thing incredibly special. My favourite dishes this time around where the pig’s head terrine with crayfish and crispy lentils, and the gin-poached rhubarb with toasted coconut sorbet and cardamom meringue, but every time I go, I look forward to something new. It’s mind-blowing food in a setting so simple and friendly, I have no doubt that you’ll fall in love.
And all for just £36 (not including the extra drinks we had at Norse). The offer is on Thursdays during February, but I really hope that it’s something that they extend because I’d absolutely love to go back and I really want you to have the chance to experience it, too.
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