Henry Harris is back with Bouchon Racine and the Three Compasses in Farringdon

bouchon racine farringdon london

Updated 2/11/22 with pub opening date

It's been seven long years since chef Henry Harris closed the doors of his much-loved restaurant Racine in Knightsbridge. But now we can bring you the great news that Racine is coming back, albeit in a slightly different guise. Harris has joined forces with hugely respected restaurant director Dave Strauss (who you might remember from his decade at Goodman before he left London to work for Mitch Tonks' Rockfish group). The pair have taken over the Three Compasses in Farringdon which they're on the verge of reopening as a pub & restaurant.

Downstairs, the pub's undergoing a light renovation and will be in the good hands of manager Bradley Hawkins (ex-Drapers Arms) when it opens, complete with pub dog. There'll be a kitchen counter at the back serving up charcuterie, rillettes and plates like jambon cru with celeriac remoulade. The lunch menu in the pub will reflect the bouchon upstairs so there could be a jambon beurre or bowl of toulouse sausages and lentils on offer.

Upstairs - and with its own separate street entrance - will be Bouchon Racine. Henry will be returning to the kitchen alongside Racine's old head chef Chris Handley serving up an 'unashamedly French' menu. As Henry explained to Hot Dinners; "Over the last 10 years everyone's been saying to me, 'Why don't you reopen Racine?' The location was going to determine what the restaurant would be. Farringdon and this building lend themselves to a Lyonnaise bouchon, but a bouchon in the Racine sense - there's always been some good Lyonnaise bits and pieces on my menu. We'll be going back to the good French cooking that makes people smile and restores them."

To that end, the bouchon will serve up a small, frequently changing menu - they're thinking of just writing it on a blackboard each day. There'll be rabbit with mustard, some good steaks, Lyonnaise salads and "brains and tripe will come and go". Fish will be sourced from The Chelsea Fishmonger, and also Mitch Tonks - think turbot with beurre blanc and platters of oysters. Henry's also promising a Gascon mixed grill - a dish that includes maigret de canard, duck confit and braised haricots among other delights -and a perfect creme caramel.

For the wine list, they've been looking at Beaujolais and all the villages while Henry's wife's company, Harris Vintners, will supply a "sensational array of great French digestifs".

It all sounds like a perfect project for Harris and Strauss whose team of investors includes John Barnes (who was behind the Harry Ramsden roll-out), fishmonger Rex Goldsmith, Charlie Carroll of Flatiron and Mike Lucy who founded catering giant Company of Cooks. As Strauss says: "Both of us wanted to do something really special, a restaurant we felt proud to be part of. That was the common thread of everything - the ability for Henry to write the menu he wanted to write and for me to focus on the important things in terms of service."

When the pub and restaurant opens, it'll have a brand new sign by Ashley Bishop of heritage sign painters The Brilliant Sign Company. Ashley was responsible for the etched glass sign outside Racine all those years ago and he's been keeping the original safe since then. Now he'll be able to hang it up in the pub which is a lovely closing of the circle.


More about Bouchon Racine and Three Compasses

Where is it? 66 Cowcross St, London EC1M 6BP

When? The pub opens 8 November and the restaurant 25 November 2022.

Find out more: Follow them on Instagram @bouchonracine and @threecompassesfarringdon


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