Today sees the re-opening of Three Cranes on Garlick Hill EC4, the result of an inspiring collaboration between industry figurehead Henry Harris (formerly chef patron of Racine) and founder of Harcourt Inns, James McCulloch. Located right beside Mansion House station, Three Cranes comprises of a ground floor pub with two intimate dining rooms across the second and third floors and two serviced apartments on the upper two levels.
Following the discovery of a planning application from 1911 for a ‘grill room,’ the short menu champions grilled specialties. Starters include smoked eel with horseradish and Henry’s celebrated steak tartare. Daily changing cuts of steak (dry aged for up to 35 days and sourced from the Ayrshire coast) and lamb chops from Warborough Farm, are on the menu and accompanied by a selection of sauces and flavoured butters, such as anchovy & rosemary or bone marrow butter. Other dishes include prawns with pastis or tomatoes on toast, according to seasonal produce available. There are also specials designed for sharing and classic puddings, ranging from chocolate mousse to a fine cheese selection.
In the bar, a daily ‘Bar Sandwich’ such as field mushroom and goats cheese or a hamburger, are served alongside sharing boards. The food operation at Three Cranes is overseen by Head Chef Douglas Brunen (Harvey Nichols Fifth Floor).
Unique heritage has not only informed the menus, but also the wine list. Named after the three cranes of timber on nearby Vintry Wharf, where Bordeaux’s wine casks were first brought into London, Three Cranes has a strong Bordeaux emphasis. Apéritifs including London Negronis and White Armagnac Martinis provide a sharpener, whilst beers range from a house pilsner from Portobello Brewery to Stiegel from Austria and Timothy Taylor cask beer. Grower champagne, such as Nicolas Gallimard is championed, as well.
Three Cranes is first included in an Agas map dating from 1562 and with so much history, the design process has been centred upon sensitivity to heritage. The ground floor pub serves from an expansive curved bar topped with granite, to dwellers gathered round high-topped timber tables and seated in the oak paneled annexe.
Upstairs in the Grill Room, a lighter colour palette provides the back drop to antiqued green leather seats and thick oak tables. Elegant glass light fittings and art celebrating the site’s history finish the room, including classic river scenes, vintage maps and a portrait of Samuel Pepys (who often mentioned Three Cranes in writings). These design elements, overseen by Liana Braune (former one of the curators and head of installations at the Museum of Everything) are continued into the third floor, the ultimate spot for private dining or standing parties.
Tucked away on the top two floors, are two serviced apartments, designed with seamless attention to detail and respect for British craftmanship. Pared back yet warmly lit, both apartments offer retreat and comfort to guests who are staying; and individual style that is considered to the vintage period fittings of the building.
After a culinary course at Leiths School of Food and Wine, Henry joined Simon Hopkinson at his restaurant Hilaire, before being appointed Bibendum’s Sous Chef. Next came the Fifth Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols, and in 2002, the opening of his solo venture, Racine. Henry is now looking forward to driving the food operations of McCulloch’s growing collection of pubs.
McCulloch’s intention in buying pub sites is to save and preserve noteworthy properties from being converted into real estate or nondescript chains. Working alongside Henry and Head of Operations, Shane Styles; Three Cranes opens a new chapter for them all.