Design Icon: Harrods Food Halls

A foodie haven steeped in history

Harrods’ bakery offers 15 varieties of bread

What? Comprising a vast area on the ground floor of Knightsbridge’s premier department store, Harrods Food Halls are one-stop shops for all manner of culinary delights. Divided into four distinct zones – fish, meat, poultry, fruit and vegetables; beverages, chocolates and pantry; charcuterie, fromagerie and traiteur; and bakery and patisserie – chances are that if you can’t find your favourite food here, your palette is seriously off the wall.

Where? Harrods is one of the world’s most famous retail outlets, with 330 departments dedicated to the globe’s most luxurious brands. But the spectacular façade belies the store’s humble beginnings. Established as a grocer’s and tea merchant’s in the East End by Charles Henry Harrod in 1834, the shop moved to Knightsbridge in 1848 to coincide with the opening of The Great Exhibition at nearby Hyde Park. It had a single room and was staffed by two assistants and a messenger boy. Catering to the burgeoning middle class, the store rapidly expanded until a fire destroyed it in 1883. Duly rebuilt, the current building was designed by Charles William Stephens and featured the Art Nouveau frontage we know and love today.

The roastery is a caffeine fiend’s dream come true

When? Inside, the Food Halls’ glamorous Royal Doulton tile decoration was created in 1902 by artist William Neatby. The Halls were also reworked in 1925 to include the painted ceilings, cartouches, brass and glass cabinets and Carrara marble flooring that now all enjoy a Grade II-listed status.

The grandiose art Nouveau façade was added in 1884

Why? As well as the store’s extraordinary range of edible sensations, you can also order Harrods’ fabulous hampers. And two new sections within the Halls will tantalise your taste buds even further. The Roastery roasts and grinds coffee beans in full view of customers, while the Bake Hall offers artisanal bread, pastries and cakes. All set within the Food Halls’ eye-popping surroundings, it’s a culinary – and sensory – experience not to be missed. 87-135 Brompton Road, SW1.

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