Those wondering what Henry Harris has been up to since he shuttered Knightsbridge’s Racine last year need wonder no more. The chef will bring his signature, classical French cuisine to Thames-side restaurant-with-rooms, The Dog & Badger, in the village of Medmenham (not far from Marlow).
Originally we were informed the venture would open at the end of May, however the launch date has now been pushed back until the beginning of July while Harris works on menus and assembles his kitchen team.
His menu promises French country cooking, with a few British classics on offer too, alongside a 450-bin wine list. Six luxurious suites, set inside a neighbouring Grade-II listed cottage (formerly an alehouse), are due to open this summer.
Harris was chef/patron of Racine for 13 years before he closed the restaurant in 2015. He pointed to a ‘rapidly shifting demographic in the Knightsbridge area’ and ‘operational challenges’ as reasons for its departure.
Harris was trained at Leiths before being employed by Simon Hopkinson at Hilaire and then later at Bibendum. He also cheffed at Harvey Nichols’ Fifth Floor restaurant before leaving to head up Racine, where it was Tim Hayward who described him in The Guardian as ‘the best French chef with the decency to be British’. While working at The Dog & Badger, Harris will continue to act as consultant to The Groucho Club, where he collaborates with their executive chef.
On the menu at Dog & Badger: Duck confit with lentils; British hake served with asparagus and beurre blanc; Dorset lobster from the wood oven with garlic butter; and Cote de Boeuf from the grill. The focus will be on field-fresh, locally sourced produce, some of which is home-grown in the 12 vegetable plots in the cottage gardens which boast rare Medlar trees. Lamb, rare breed pork, and other meats and game will be sourced locally in the Chilterns.
The restaurant also vaunts a 450 bin wine list sourced from a host of producers and wine merchants.