Henry Harris – the man once described as ‘the best French chef with the decency to be British’ – is to take over as Chef-Patron at The Dog & Badger, the bar and restaurant in the pretty Thames-side village of Medmenham. Harris was the genius behind the highly regarded Knightsbridge restaurant, Racine, where he was Chef/Restauranteur for 13 years until 2015 and where he perfected the art of French provincial cooking.
The high profile chef’s arrival is a real coup for this thriving restaurant which, set in the Chilterns mid-way between Henley-on-Thames and Marlow, prides itself on its laid back luxury. What’s more, later this month (May), The Dog & Badger is to open six brand new ultra-stylish suites, lovingly converted from the neighbouring Grade II-listed cottage which was formerly an Ale House. With the stardust that Harris brings, the restaurant-with-rooms is set to become one of the most sought after addresses in the region, perfect for an indulgent getaway.
Harris was trained at Leiths where his talent was spotted by food writer Simon Hopkinson who employed him at Hilaire and then at Bibendum. Later he went on to become the hot talent at Harvey Nichols’ elegant 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 his magic at The Dog & Badger, Harris will continue to act as consultant to The Groucho Club, where he collaborates with their Executive Chef.
Commenting Harris, said, “I was fortunate to be involved in The Dog & Badger’s inception, helping with the concept and design, so naturally I am delighted to be taking up the reins here. I’m looking forward to bringing a touch of French bourgeois cuisine to the countryside of Buckinghamshire.”
Harris will serve up the best of French country cooking (with the odd British classic featuring too) from the open kitchen. Expect 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.
What also sets The Dog & Badger apart is its 450 bin wine list sourced from a host of producers and wine merchants. The list presents the opportunity to drink from a list that is not only accessible, but also offers something interesting and enjoyable along with the opportunity to try some classics.
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