Knightsbridge loses another classic bistro as Racine closes

picture of Il Bordello

It seems as though another classic Knightsbridge restaurant has fallen victim to the ‘non-doms wasteland’ that the neighbourhood has become. Over the last year we’ve seen a number of dining spots disappear from Brompton Road, most recently Racine.

Even though declining ratings in our survey seemed to reflect some loss of heart in recent years there were still sufficient among our reporters who said its “seriously good bourgeois cooking” and “old school” it could be Paris style. Perhaps in a different location it would have had an easier ride?

Chef/patron Henry Harris closed Racine on 9 January and has sold the business, pointing to a ‘rapidly shifting demographic in the Knightsbridge area’ and ‘operational challenges’ as reasons for its departure.

Last year Brompton Bar & Grill shut its doors in March. Owner Francois O’Neill decided to close the restaurant to ‘pursue new challenges’. Although Brompton Bar & Grill only occupied the site for six years, the space belonged to O’Neill’s family for 35 years and was previously the fabled Brasserie St Quentin (est 1980) – run by O’Neill’s father Hugh (Lord Rathcaven) and the latter’s cousin, the former Evening Standard restaurant critic Quentin Crewe.

On top of that 2014 also saw the demise of Brompton Road’s French bistros Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis – a “simple” “unpretentious” little haven and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Cassis (which always played second fiddle to Racine).


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