Augustus Harris was the manager of the Drury Lane Theatre from 1879 until his death in 1896 and was widely regarded as the father of pantomime – famous for his lavish productions as well as his love of food and drink. There’s even a fetching bust of the man himself on the corner of Catherine Street, just a few yards from this Italian deli-turned-eatery of the same name. During the day, Augustus Harris operates as a purveyor of wines, olive oil and other Italian produce, before more morphing into a Venetian-style bacaro in the evening. Chicchetti, crostini and salumi (charcuterie) are the mainstays of the menu, along with some light and feisty salads of bresaola, fennel and Italian cheeses. A crostini of nduja, stracciatella and rocket mixes fiery flavours with creamy notes, and we find anchovy butter soldiers to be standout in their simplicity. Cocktails including variations on the classic spritz and Negroni are well received, though a concise but creative all-Italian wine list is the real reason for a trip: good value comes in the form of some lesser-known native Italian grape varieties.
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