Southampton Harbour Hotel opened in Southampton city centre back in 2017, bringing a sleek and modern luxury 5* hotel to Ocean Village marina – but did you know that inside the imposing exterior is an excellent fine dining restaurant?
The Southampton Harbour Hotel is home to HarBAR on 6th, a rooftop bar, kitchen and club. Step through the huge glass doors and past the spiral staircase, and take the elevator up to the 6th floor – on your way through the hotel, you’ll be greeted by friendly staff and exquisite decor.
When you arrive at HarBAR on 6th, there’s a choice of seating – you can enjoy a drink on the outdoor terrace, taking in the views over Southampton water. Alternatively, you can take a seat inside by the bar area or further down in the quieter dining area.
On our visit, the outdoor terrace had been transformed into a wintery, cosy bar – complete with fire heaters and warm Nordes gin cocktails. What a delightful way to start the evening!
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We headed back inside and took our seats in the quieter end of the restaurant, away from the bustling bar – the full restaurant and busy bar was a clear indicator that HarBAR on 6th is a very popular evening venue in Southampton. Our seat offered views over Ocean Village marina and across a lot of the city – and with it being the weekend after bonfire night, we were treated to the sight of fireworks across the city throughout the evening.
I was invited along to HarBAR on 6th to experience the new dishes on their all day dining menu, which were created by the Southampton kitchen. Unable to resist the temptation of trying the newer dishes, we ordered a starter and a main each from the new additions.
As soon as we were seated, the attentive staff and General Manager, Richard, took our drink orders, explained the new dishes on the menu and brought over some water for the table – providing a level of service that blew us away. From the moment we set foot through the door until the time we left, we were very impressed by the excellent customer service delivered by all staff.
We decided to order from the cocktail menu, with a mocktail for myself (designated driver for the evening!). Tom opted for the Cowes Regatta cocktail, a fruity concoction with Finlandia vodka, strawberry puree, passionfruit puree & samphire syrup.
I chose the Elderflower Mojito made with apple juice, elderflower syrup, mint, lime juice & soda – just as delicious as an alcoholic mojito!
The starters arrived very promptly, which we were impressed by considering just how busy the restaurant was – and they were both presented beautifully. Almost too beautiful to eat!
Tom chose the crisp duck salad, served warm with asian slaw, cucumber, spring onions, cashews and a swirl of hoisin. The noises of appreciation coming from across the table were an indication of just how delicious this dish was – I’m assured this was the highlight of the meal for T, in fact!
The hoisin sauce was rich, the flavours were fresh and textures were crunchy – a delicious starter, and something T would definitely order again. I’m also told that this is the best salad he’s ever had – and it’s certainly much more interesting than most salads!
I opted for the smoked salmon tartare – which upon arrival was the most beautiful plate of food that has ever been placed in front of me. It even came with an edible flower on top!
The smoked salmon tartare was served with two types of salmon – smoked & cured, avocado, caper berries and a squeeze of lemon. The salmon was delicate and incredibly tender – and I’m confident in saying that this is the best smoked salmon I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. The classic combination of salmon & avocado worked well together, and the salty, slightly acidic kick from the caper berries complimented the dish perfectly.
The starters were both very generous sizes, which we weren’t necessarily expecting – which was refreshing and reassuring. HarBAR is a fine dining restaurant that doesn’t give a pretentious, overpriced feeling which is often found in similar establishments – the atmosphere was warm & welcoming, and the starters left us excited for our main course.
Which also arrived very promptly!
As I mentioned before, Tom and I both decided to try the new dishes from the menu – which again arrived beautifully presented and with a good portion size. Although the generous portions didn’t stop us from ordering a side of skinny fries – always an essential with dinner!
T opted for the grilled rump lamb, served with a Toulouse sausage & bean cassoulet, tenderstem broccoli and basil oil. I’m personally not so keen on lamb, but T loves it – and I’m assured that this was excellent. The lamb was served tender & pink on the inside and crispy on the outside.
This dish was created to embrace the Autumnal ingredients, and is probably the most comforting dish on the menu. An excellent choice if you usually choose meat, but fancy something different to a steak.
As my preference is usually seafood, I chose the pan fried monkfish – something I’ve only tried once before, so I was excited to see it on the menu. The monkfish was served with a mussel, seaweed & saffron orzo risotto – a lighter and unusual take on a classic risotto. I enjoyed the use of pasta rather than risotto, and the mussels were perfectly cooked. The star of the dish was, of course, the monkfish – crisp on the bottom, delicate and delicious.
This dish is the perfect choice for any fellow seafood lovers out there – and it even packs a little bit of a kick with some fresh chilli. A delight to eat, and something I’m hoping to recreate at home!
With a little room left, we indulged in a dessert each – both of which were, again, presented beautifully! The desserts were so exquisite that we really felt mean destroying the masterpieces – and they were just as delicious & decadent as they look.
T opted for the dark chocolate & orange pannacotta, served with cinder honeycomb and whipped mascarpone. The pannacotta was smooth and creamy, with the crunch from the honeycomb contrasting perfectly with the soft textures of the pannacotta. Chocolate & orange is a classic flavour combination, and the flavours in this pannacotta were just the right amount of sweet.
I chose to try the assiette – which was a beautifully presented plate of apple, pear & blackberry prepared in different ways. The assiette was served with apple, pear & blackberry sorbet, compressed cider apple, blackberry mousse, hibiscus poached pear, candied apple & almond granola. A surprising number of components, that all came together for an explosion of flavours and textures.
This was possibly the best dessert I’ve ever had – a pleasure to eat and a feast for both the eyes and the tastebuds.
It was clear throughout our meal that each component of every dish had been carefully thought out and meticulously prepared – which was reflected in the beautiful presentation and exquisite flavours. Everything from the attentive service to the modern decor, delicious food and drinks was excellent – this is an evening that we won’t forget, and we’re already planning several trips back to HarBAR on 6th with family to share the experience with. Perhaps we’ll even book an overnight stay in one of the luxurious rooms at Southampton Harbour Hotel!
After such a fantastic dinner at HarBAR on 6th, I feel well equipped when I say that I feel that this is by far the best restaurant in Southampton. If you’re looking for a fine dining restaurant that combines excellent service, food, drinks, atmosphere and views over Southampton water – look no further than HarBAR on 6th.
A big thank you to Richard and the excellent team at HarBAR on 6th for creating such a memorable experience for us – we’ll be back very soon!