Former Racine regulars can rejoice. The brains behind the much-loved French restaurant, chef Henry Harris, is poised to bring his version of classic French cooking to Farringdon pub Three Compasses next month.
As first reported by Hot Dinners, Harris will team up with front-of-house boss David Strauss, formerly operations director at the revered Goodman steak restaurants.
Racine, the iconic French bistro on Knightsbridge in west London ran from 2002 to 2015 — its closure was one mourned right across the spectrum of the London restaurant industry. In 2017, it was announced that Harris would oversee menus at three endangered London pubs: the Truscott Arms in Maida Vale, the Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell, and the Three Cranes Tavern on Lower Thames Street in the City. His gastropub reinvention continued with the Hero of Maida in 2018.
Harris, who was the chef director at the pub group Harcourt Inns, left the group in October 2020, and most recently joined the seafood restaurant group Wright Brothers as chef and beverage director.
And so now to the Three Compasses: The Farringdon pub, which has a 300-year old history, will be renovated as a pub downstairs, and a 45-cover restaurant upstairs — Bouchon Racine — which will have its own street entrance. Harris will be joined by former Racine head chef Chris Handley to serve up classic French fare, including rillettes, jambon cru with celeriac remoulade, and toulouse sausages and lentils. The bouchon may just go with a blackboard menu, that eternal London favourite which offers both ease and surprise, of rabbit with mustard, steaks, brains and tripe. The wine list, which is likely to include a significant range of Beaujolais, will come courtesy of Denise Harris’s Harris Vintners.
Harris told Hot Dinners: “Over the last 10 years everyone’s been saying to me, ‘Why don’t you reopen Racine?’
“We’ll be going back to the good French cooking that makes people smile and restores them.”
Harris has real pedigree for French cooking and has form on pub restoration — the 300-year old Three Compasses looks made for him and this iteration of Racine.