AD* | The Southampton Harbour Hotel is a stunning hotel standing tall in Ocean Village right on the coast.
It’s built in the shape of a cruise ship and has become an iconic part of the city’s skyline.
The penthouse or top level is the hotel’s main restaurant HarBar on 6th with spectacular views out across the marina and the Solent, the stretch of water between the south coast and the Isle of Wight.
It’s a stunning hang out with a terrace, floor to ceiling windows and a beautiful balcony.
It has a recently launched a new seafood focused menu which I was invited to review.
Where do I begin? HarBar on 6th has done a complete one hundred and eighty degree turnaround on its food and service. It is INCREDIBLE.
Alright so the whole point of blogging is to be honest. So here is a lot of honesty and a bit of background to give you some context.
My previous experiences at HarBAR, that I’ve paid for with my cold hard cash, were unfortunately not good. I was so disappointed as it had so much potential but the food and the service just did not live up to the beautiful setting the hotel had created.
BUT, and this is a BIG BUT this is no longer true. It’s changed beyond recognition and I had an absolutely incredible meal, everything from start to finish was excellent.
In the past few months the restaurant’s had a new general manager who has really turned it into what I feel it should have been from the start. Hats off to Richard and his team because it is fantastic now!
HarBar on 6th’s new menu
The new menu definitely has been well thought through, and while it’s definitely more focused on sea food, it’s broad enough to include other classic dishes so there’s definitely going to be something to appeal to everyone in your group.
It’s fine dining without the pretentiousness and that is my favourite kind of experience when I eat out.
There’s excellent ingredient combinations that compliment each other and so much flavour that it immediately will be on my recommendation list when people ask me where to eat in Southampton next. In fact, I might even book it for my family this Christmas Eve, we always go out for a meal together and I know they’d love it here.
Here’s my top picks from the new menu. Henry, my other half, the old apple of my eye joined me, which is a real treat too as I don’t get to take him to many blogging reviews. It was a very luxurious date night. FYI, guys, gals and non-binary pals, this is a great date place, intimate with plenty of atmosphere.
While we perused the menu we ordered some cocktails and nocellara olives to nibble on before.
There’s so many nice things to pick from, an asian duck salad and tiger prawns, it was tough deciding what to have!
To start I had the smoked salmon tartare, avocado, caper berries and lemon.
It’s a classic combination and the addition of cool creamy avocado with the salty addition of capers is simple, elegant and unbelievably delicious. These are the biggest caper berries I’ve ever seen, and they had the salty kick that works so well with seafood.
Henry let me try his starter, a heady mix of strong flavours, beef carpaccio, black truffle, walnuts, blue cheese and green leaves. He only let me have a mouthful and after that mouthful I understood why! It’s glorious!
I love eating things I’d never make at home and this is totally one of those things as you need very high quality beef to make carpaccio as it’s served raw.
For mains I had pan fried monkfish, mussel and saffron risotto and seaweed.
This dish was so well balanced, I didn’t know what to expect but the risotto was more like orzo pasta, and the monkfish was cooked just right.
From the more hearty choices on the menu Henry opted for the grilled rump lamb, Toulouse sausage and bean cassoulet with basil – this was a real winter warmer.
The beautifully cooked lamb was topped with a crispy piece of pancetta and tender stem broccoli. It was the rich sauce that really was the icing on the cake so to speak.
It just finished the whole dish off and gave it a depth and warmth to it. This meal is definitely what you’d want to keep the wolf from the door after a long winters day.
Sharing is caring and after such a splendid meal it would have been rude not to finish it off the right way with a little something sweet.
Both Henry and I wanted exactly the same things so we decided to share the sticky toffee pudding with stout poached dates and clotted cream ice cream.
Hello comfort in a bowl, a big beautiful ceramic bowl! There was plenty of sauce and it was simple done really really well. I’m not a fan of places that try to make sticky toffee pudding complicated or with a twist. When it’s done well, it really doesn’t need much to it.
It’s a classic and a crowd pleaser and I’m always happy to see in on the menu because it’s certainly something I’d never make a home.
We also shared the most beautiful and delicious apple and pear pudding.
It was assiette of apple, pear and blackberry sorbet, compressed cider apple, blackberry mousse, hibiscus poached pear, toasted almond granola and candied apple. Phew, what a mouthful!
You’d think that many different things might be a little overwhelming but it’s not it’s absolutely on the money!
While each of the components were tasty it was the compressed cider apple that was my favourite element. Although the hibiscus poached pears were pretty spectacular too! 😍😍😍
I would love to make these cider apples because they were exquisite – if you’d like to offer up the recipe on that one HarBar, I wouldn’t say no to it! 😂😂😂
Cocktails and drinks
While gin is my go to drink, and they do have a fantastic selection, I decided to park it for this evening and try something a bit different.
I decided to go for a classic margarita, I don’t know why I picked it but I’m so glad I did! The one at Harbour on 6th wasn’t too sweet and it had a bit of salt on the rim which complimented the drink perfectly.
Then I tried The Hemingway Daiquiri which was recommended to me by our waitress, and I think it was an odd pick for me as it has grapefruit in it which I hate. But we’d been give such good recommendations that I made a leap of faith and went for it.
It’s a mix of Bacardi white rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur and sugar syrup and I was really surprised I liked it. It’s both sweet and sour and I think that’s the maraschino knocking back the bitterness of the grapefruit.
After months of barely drinking, enjoying a couple of cocktails over dinner was very relaxing and a great way to end the week.
We were seated at the back of the restaurant right by the window and I am so glad we were, as it was the first weekend after Guy Fawkes night, there were plenty of fireworks to watch.
I really love the view of the restaurant, you get a really good sunset and I love seeing all the twinkly lights across the marina. The fireworks were really great and it proved to be the best vantage point all while eating some incredible food.
HarBar on 6th
Ok, so I get that I’ve sounded a little gushy, but this meal was everything I wanted it to be and a little bit more. It’s not often every element of your evening is fantastic and I’m really happy that HarBar on 6th has the food and service to match it’s gorgeous aesthetic.
Thank you to general manager Richard, and his wonderful team, for the best evening I’ve had in a long time!
*AD – Gifted Review – BUT, all opinions are my own, otherwise what’s the point?!