An uncomplicated menu of pronounced northern Italy flavour; an equally concise and decidedly Italian list of wine and drinks; a stylish wood and copper bar that’s as cosy as it is elegant – there’s a lot to love about Augustus Harris, a Venetian inspired bàcaro conveniently set within the heart of Theatreland.
Cicheti, spuntini, crostini … more than cook anything up, the barmen at AH essentially take a few basic ingredients and assemble them into small dishes for snacks and sharing. If that comes across as a disparaging statement, by no means is that the intention. I’ve been craving to return since my visit a couple of weeks back as I found the menu to be an absolute delight.
The key to its yumminess is that the handful of components used are top quality and super delish. Prices are nice too – especially if you can show constraint and avoid a few of the pricier (albeit gorgeous and good value) items. From the spuntini list, I loved the ample serving of stracciatella (£8); the fennel radish and orange salad (£5); and anchovy and butter soldiers (£3). Crostini that did if for me included finocciona salame with gherkin (£4); Gorgonzola with Asian pear, grapes and honey; and a particularly appetising capocollo with artichoke (£4).
Drinks hit the spot too, with no complaints about my Aperol Spritz (£6) or my bottle of crisp lager from 150 year old Piemonte brewery, Birra Menabrea (something that’s not always regularly stocked I was told). Next time, I’m diving into what appears to be a rather well rounded (if Italian only) wine list.
The bar’s named is an homage to Sir Augustus Harris, the 19th Century manager of the Drury Lane Theatre, considered to be the modern Pantomine. I’ll drink (and eat!) to that. If you’re pre or post theatre noshing (or simply keen for a chic place for drinks and nibbles), you’d be wise to drop in here as well.
Augustus Harris is located at 33 Catherine Street, WC2B 5JT. Find out more at augustusharris.com.