Thursday, 13 March 2014
Augustus Harris, Covent Garden
Named after Augustus Harris, 'father of modern pantomime' and one-time manager of The Theatre Royal Drury Lane directly opposite, this cute duplex wine bar deserves to be a West End hit. Feeling like, and not much bigger than, a cabin on a 17th Century galleon - of which three uninspiring framed prints, perhaps better suited to an OAP's Eastbourne bungalow, nailed to the wall by way of decoration... 'for no real reason' says our waitress. Why is this cosy spot is not busier on a night in an area that is crawling with potential punters? I can see that it's appeal might be lost on those here to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the bad perms and Evans Outsize coats who waddle off, en masse, to Hatfield, Harrow and Hell, post-performance. Their loss! As far as I'm concerned, you can keep your coach party musicals; easy drinking Primitivo, Pinot G; americano, negroni and basilico among a selection of fave Florentine cocktails; and a supporting cast of crostini, ciccheti, salumi and classic dolce (tiramisu in a demi-tasse) suit me just fine for light grazing: making a meal of it here could be tricky: a wider selection of assemblage plates would be welcome. A grating random pop/rock soundtrack (Now That's What I Call Music Hell Vol 59) is made up for by super-cute staff. Creamy-skinned, perfectly-formed, polite, Lithuanian waiter boy should be on a model agency's books. Trust me! In another life, I cast faces/ bodies just like his for all manner of fashiony fabulousness. He'll make more for two walks down an Emporio Armani runway than he will in tips here in a year. Not that I'm out to poach Augustus Harris's staff, but Select's telephone number, if you are reading this, young man, is 7299 1322. Give them a bell and mention my name so I can tap them for a finder's fee.
33 Catherine Street WC2B 5JT www.augustusharris.com