Those who frequented Knightsbridge in the early 2000s will doubtless remember Racine - Henry Harris' French bistro was a beloved London restaurant before sadly closing its doors in 2015. If you’ve had a Racine-shaped hole in your life since then, fear not - Harris is back as co-owner and chef of Bouchon Racine in Farringdon. Run in collaboration with restaurant director Dave Strauss, the two have transformed the former Three Compasses in Farringdon and brought to the Farringdon landscape a pub-restaurant which serves up a menu that is ‘unashamedly French’.
The sign on the front of the venue is made by Ashley Bishop, the creator who made the Racine sign years ago – a touch of charming nostalgia. As for the venue itself, Bouchon Racine is divided up into two parts: a pub downstairs and a restaurant upstairs, with separate entrances for both.
The pub (which is also home to a pub dog!), serves up a wide selection of drinks, as well as plates from its kitchen counter. Small dishes included jambon cru with celeriac remoulade, and various charcuterie formulations. The pub section of Bouchon Racine does also serve up a lunch menu, featuring the likes of jambon beurre, and Toulouse sausages with lentils. Hearty, tasty, and undeniably French.
Upstairs is the restaurant, where Henry cooks alongside Racine’s former head chef, Chris Handley. Small and frequently changing, Bouchon Racine’s menu has a distinctly Lyonnaise influence. Diners can choose from dishes like rabbit with mustard, quality steaks, and Lyonnaise salads. There’s a strong seafood selection, including turbot with beurre blanc, and oyster platters.
Not to be outdone, the drinks on offer include an impressive wine list, as well as a range of French digestifs supplied by Henry’s wife’s company, Harris Vintners.
If you’re a Racine loyalist or a curious newbie looking for a fun food spot, Bouchon Racine’s food and drink will be sure to satisfy.