Augustus Harris is a new bar-and-bites venue in Covent Garden, inspired by the bàcari of Venice and named after Sir Augustus Harris, the 19th century manager of the Drury Lane Theatre.
We started our brief trip to Venice with cocktails. The Rosmarino (gin-based, with rosemary, sugar water and lemon) and Basilico (basil infused with vodka, lemon and cracked black pepper) both went down nicely. Both had sprigs of fresh herbs and were clean tasting, with a good balance of savoury and sweet. Alternatives include Americanos and Negronis, if you prefer something more traditional and bitter.
Unsure of which wine to go for post-cocktails, we asked our waiter for assistance. He seemed passionate and knowledgeable, and recommended two great glasses to appease our different palates.
If, like me, you enjoy going to establishments where the menus are concise and considered, you will appreciate Augustus Harris’s dainty selection of classic Italian offerings. We started with the stracciatella, a bowl of soft cheese, drizzled with basil oil and served with delicious, fresh foccacia. As an individual dish it was so perfectly simple and utterly moreish that we ended up ordering it again – three times.
Another dish that I really enjoyed took the form of anchovy and butter soldiers, rich and salty, and a fine example of uncomplicated combinations. Other bar snacks include fennel, radish & orange salad, bresaola & rocket and Bella di Cerignola olives – if you’re not normally a fan of germ-ridden peanuts and dusty pork scratchings, then these are the bar snacks for you!
As well as snacks, guests can enjoy a selection of crostini; I was very keen to try the grapes & honey, gorgonzola and Asian pear, which didn’t disappoint. All smashed on one plate, it was very tasty and went perfectly with the wine. I really enjoyed the mackerel and pickled red onion, another well-balanced and simple morsel. We also indulged in finocchiona salami & gherkin, capocollo & artichoke and porchetta with herbs.
Augutus Harris is conveniently located in the heart of ‘Theatreland’, so I don’t imagine it will take long before it becomes a standard destination for before or after a show. It also happens to be great value for money; plates of crostini are only £4 and cocktails are around the £6 mark, making it a perfect place for modest, authentic central London dining.
Monday-Thursday: Shop – 12pm – 1130pm | Serving drinks and food: 5pm – 1130pm
Friday-Saturday: Shop – 12pm – 1130pm | Serving drinks and food: 12pm – Midnight
33 Catherine Street
London, WC2B 5JT