Impromptu lunches can sometimes be the best. My first visit to Racine was just that. A weekday excursion to see the Grace Kelly exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum definitely required a lunch to match, and Racine certainly did just that.  

So on my second visit I was armed and camera ready. You enter through the glass doors to peak behind the curtains into a buzzy French brasserie style dining room. The sort of place you can imagine eating and drinking with friends over a long lunch. Chef, Henry Harris, has taken inspiration from the brasseries of Paris to bring solid bourgeois style French cooking to London.

Diver caught scallops with celeriac puree and bacon, sounds good huh. When the dish was first sat in front of me I thought someone had come to blows with the scallop trying to prise it out of the shell (yes don’t laugh). Then on closer inspection I realised the scallops were huge and were actually divided (there is another piece on the other side, you can’t see in my snap). Big fat juicy scallops beautifully caramelised so that they were seared on the outside and only just cooked in the centre. The celeriac puree wasn’t completely smooth but I can forgive that because there is a curly piece of bacon on the top. This was a manly starter.

There is quite alot to choose from on the menu, à la carte, specials, or set lunch. If you like good steak, Racine uses O’Shea’s of Knightsbridge, which supplies excellent 37 day hung, grass fed beef. I chose the partridge from the seasonal menu. I ‘ve had it, at other establishments, where it was so rare I thought they just cut it off the bird straight onto the plate. Some may say that is perfectly acceptable, but it’s not the way I like it. Racine cooks it just the way I like it. So the breast actually reaches the pan but is still gorgeously tender and pink to the bone. Served on a bed of cabbage with wild mushrooms, roasted shallots, delicious.

The staff are ever so friendly and very helpful when choosing wine to match. I always need help, and anyway I figure they are the experts, well more than I am. They have never  failed me.

I remember the lemon posset I devoured on my first visit, divine. Feeling quite full at this point I went for the lemon sorbet with vodka for dessert. I excpected one possibly two small scoops so I was a bit shocked when this mountain arrived. I have noticed sorbet with vodka shots seem to be a common theme of late, not that I’m complaining.

Racine seems to be a place of consistency. Excellent well presented food, great lunch deals in a very pleasant dining room.

So feeling the comfort of a lovely meal and the carefree attitude of a few glasses of wine, I set off to Harvey Nichols for some light afternoon shopping……