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Racine


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Grouse grouse grouse grouse...

I know, I should give a well reasoned review of this, but it was my first time, it's after 8.30, and my IQ just dropped 50 points. I'm feeling effusive, yet strangely stupid.

I recommend this very highly to all interested in game. This was serious, grown-up eating. The grouse, cooked perfectly (I imagine), slightly pink in the breast, well done in the thigh, larded with bacon, balanced on a butter-fried crouton covered in creamy sauteed crushed chicken livers, hearts and lungs, with a beautiful but slightly sticky game and veal stock-enriched sauce (madeira, I think), some delicate fresh crisps, and an onion and clove-redolent bread sauce on the side.

This was a beautiful meal. The breast meat was full flavoured without being over-bearing. The thigh meat, however, was almost alcoholic in its 'highness.' It literally tasted as if the bottom half of the bird had been resting in brandy for 6 hours before cooking. The maitre explained that the birds were hung for four or five days, and also that they were very mild this early in the season. If I returned in a few weeks, it would be a completely different dining experience - one which many couldn't stomach for its gaminess.

The flavours on the plate complemented each other in ways I couldn't begine to describe - the savouriness of the chicken livers I thought would clash with the dark tones of the meat, but instead each supported the other to almost moderate the harsher notes. The gentle sweetness of the bread sauce supported every other note on the plate. The sauce, done well and classically, provided the background support. Just a marvellous plate of food.

The service, as always, is warm, efficient, and there when you need them.

If anyone else, like myself, want to try this fantastic bird for the first time, I'd recommend Racine's as very safe and comforting place to do so.

Price was 20 pounds for the grouse.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Nice early dinner here on Friday night. Started with slices of Jesus De Lyon with a caper dressing on top. Rachel had Mushrooms a la Grecque with a couple of slices of Pain Poilane. Rachel had 3 large lamb chops for her main course, accompanied by potatoes fried in duck fat and a bowl of rich "sauce" with peas and a lovely smoky flavour provided by the bacon. I had 3 perfectly cooked fillets of red mullet in a nice oily tomato sauce accompanied by steamed new potatoes.

Finished with cheese which had a conatined a sensational slice of Bleu D'Auvergne.

I really like the restaurant, not mindblowing but good honest food and excellent/outstanding service.

Nice way to finish off a heavy weeks dining :smile:

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I forgot to mention - 14.5% service charge

That's new since the last time I was there. It strikes me as rather an odd number to choose and detracts from the notion of it being a truely affordable restaurant.

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Oi - You be nice to Blindy (Blizza? Blind Lezza?)

Yeah - noticed the 14.5, and thought it odd only because I would've left more if I'd been given the chance. The service was excellent.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I would have thought the decision to increase the service charge would not be one that was taken lightly. If the service is so good (which I found it to be on the one time I went there) do they just feel justified in increasing the charge by 2%? or is it because of a cost issue - I guess no one except the restaurant can answer that one.

I'd be interested to know what fed this decision, if it was just cost based and what affects, if any, the restaurant anticipates this will have ie if there is any negative fallout from peeing off their regular customers?

Or maybe it's just not that big a deal....

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  • 1 month later...
  • 10 months later...

Well only three years too late, but had an excellent first visit to Racine this lunchtime with Mrs and Baby Winot.

I started with the special of sauteed monk fish liver on toast which were cooked perfectly pink inside and crisp outside and drizzled with that sweet brown reduced sauce that finds its way onto too many restaurant plates but worked perfectly here. Mrs. W had a plate of cold eel with beetroot jelly, cod's roe and some other bits and bobs.

Mains were tete de veau for me (ruling out calf's brain for starter yer see) which was meltingly soft with a good portion of brain and the tangy caper sauce described above. It came with new pots but would have been better with mash imho. Mrs W had sweetbreads with broad beans and artichoke - so much better than my effort at this a few weeks back -- must crisp them up more next time. However they had done something odd to the artichoke (frying it?) which apparently gave it the consistency of paper.

Puds were excellent -- pot au vanille with prunes in armagnac and lemon pud with cherries -- short and (not too) sweet -- just how we like them. Good coffee too, although like so many places they failed to bring it at the same time as the puds as requested -- why is this so difficult? (particularly here where the puds were cold).

Other than that the service was good -- they coped particularly well with our SUV pram (try getting that through the curtained door), rearranging a table for us and not blinking at breastfeeding at the table and a bit of crying (although it was quite noisy anyway). And I liked the continual replenishment of iced tap water.

Pretty pricey I thought at a shade under £100 for two for three courses, two glasses of wine (though we went for an eight quid bordeaux), two coffees and service, but I haven't found a bourgeois French restaurant this good in London, and certainly not one with the range of solid cooking on offer at Racine.

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  • 2 years later...

Racine - our default place to wine and dine with friends and family when in London. Some of the best rabbit dishes I've tried have been from here. As mentioned above good service standards and decent mark up on the wine. Great value by London standards when using a Canadian Visa card with the pound being $2.25 CDN :huh:

Stephen Bonner

"who needs a wine list when you can get pissed on dessert" Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmares 2005

MY BLOG

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As always, another great meal at Racine last month. The only low point was my starter of baby leeks with poached egg, not the most inspired choice on my behalf anyway but it just lacked flavour and the leeks where stringy and tough to eat. I was thinking of the great meat jus braised leeks with lentils i had at Toms Kitchen when i ordered it which was infinitely better. The rest of the meal was flawless, plaice fillets with a crab butter sauce and more leeks was delicious and perfectly cooked, as were the steak au poivre and the rabbit. My cheese course was as expected in a french restaurant fantastic - bleu d'auvergne, beaufort, pouligny st pierre and ami du chambertin all perfectly aged and served with caramelised walnuts, shallots (to cleanse the palate between cheeses?) and baguette. We had a great bottle of Alsace Riesling served in hock glasses ( when was the last time you saw that?) withn the bill for 3 courses for 4 coming to just over £2000. We will be back soon!

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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I suspect there is a zero too much. Did you pay £200 rather than £2000? Not even a rare vintage of Clos St Hune would be that dear, would it? And food-wise, Racine does not quite reach the price level of Le Gavroche. Or does it?!

Edited by ameiden (log)
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I suspect there is a zero too much. Did you pay £200 rather than £2000? Not even a rare vintage of Clos St Hune would be that dear, would it?

we had a 1973 (i think) clos st hune at the auberge d'ille in alsace, it must have been around 400e because it was our entire wine budget on one bottle!

Our companion who knows of such things said it was one of the finest vintages.

and the first one was corked, somellier not happy.

you don't win friends with salad

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oops!! I seem to have problems with recalling prices for meals dion't i! Yup you were right, an extra "0" on there £200 was the actual amount! Oh well, one day.....

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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  • 6 months later...

Had a very enjoyable meal there tonight. Nothing complex, but still very nice. Half a dozen oysters with a glass of house champagne followed by duck breast with foie gras puy lentils and a good medium priced Bordeaux. My companion had the rabbit as main course and seemed equally happy.We finished by sharing the cheese course with the last sip of red wine. Also very good.

French comfort food indeed! Nothing I couldn't execute at home really, but still a very nice dinner.

(Swedish arch-industrialist PG Gyllenhammar had the table next to ours, so we must have picked the right spot for this particular friday evening)

Edited by TheSwede (log)
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  • 1 year later...

Glad to say that Racine appears to have found its feet again.

Back in about July 2008, there was a change at the top leading to an almost complete change in front of house, although the kitchen thankfully remained consistent. The service was a disaster though: the new maitre d' seemed incapable of that traditional Gallic skill of customer recognition, and I no longer felt the loyalty of a regular like I had previously. Months went on. Still she didn't recognise me. Weird.

Well, a few months ago the Maitre d' chnaged again and I am delighted to day that now things are back at full steam in the service department, if not better. Food, no change - good honest darned decent French grub. But the welcome now is like night and day.

Cheers, Howard

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I've always thought this to be one of the best brasseries in London. If you have a hankering for steak tartare, frites and a bottle of brouilly, this is the place to go. However it also features a broad spectrum of interesting regional dishes, moving away from the dreary duck confit.

I've been going on & off for several years and in my mind it's has always had good consistency. Though a couple of years ago it changed the baguette to a softer, blander, clearly shop-bought variety and I remember get a little angry about it.

I still think it's unforgivable. Decent bread & wine can maketh the meal.

(and relax.....)

fergal

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