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There’s a new Harry’s Bar and This One is in the Heart of London

October 31, 2018

Everyone knows Harry… From his sophisticated 1979 beginnings as the go-to Mayfair members club which still adheres to a very strict dress and membership code, to its Dolce Vita spin off in Knightsbridge which opened last year.  Now, Harry’s Bar has done it again.  This time on James Street, directly behind Oxford Street at St. Christopher’s Place.

With its trade mark design, Harry’s Bar James Street, exudes 1950’s glamour.  Wood panelling, brass fixtures, luxurious tan leather banquettes, traditional table lamps, mood lighting…  The bar area with its high stools, and the walls lined with old Italian photos depicting various ‘vivere la vita alta’ moments.

The staff are courteous and efficient, and although the tables are quite close together, the crowd is polite too.  There’s a classic air about the place that I remember from Harry’s Dolce Vita – a confident but non-pretentious air that evokes the feeling that this restaurant knows what it’s doing without having to try.

Even on a Monday night at 6.30pm, Harry’s Bar James Street was packed.  There wasn’t a spare seat at the bar and the tables which were spare when we arrived, filled up quickly.  We started with a glass of Bruno Paillard Cuvee Brut which hit the spot nicely after a long day at work.  Their Italian wine list is extensive, offering prosecco, champagne, franciocorta and red and white wines.  We were pleasantly surprised by the reasonably priced and extremely drinkable Tuscan Chianti Rufina 2016 which at £34 was ripe and aromatic with notes of deep cherry, strawberry and pepper.

With the height of truffle season upon us, both myself and my dining companian decided on the Harry’s signature Tagliolini to start, brought to the table in a hot copper pan which is poured out on to the plate in front of you.  The overpowering smell of truffle was divine, as was the dish as a whole, doused in a good but not overwhelming amount of parmesan and cream.  We polished this off in minutes – the earthy musky aroma of the truffle, absolutely perfect against the sweeter notes of the dish.

As a Harry’s regular, I usually always go for the Pollo Milanese which I know to be delicious every time.  My friend went for this, on my recommendation – perfectly crisp chicken, fresh datterini tomatoes and fresh chopped rocket.  I, this time, thought I’d try one of my all time favourite dishes – the Aubergine Parmigiana which again was presented in a copper pan.  The consistency of the aubergine was just right – soft and pulpy, stacked as it should be and surrounded by slow cooked tomatoes, brightly coloured and beautifully flavoured.  I saved the cheese topping until the last mouthful – those three key ingredients working so well together.

Absolutely stuffed, we knew we shouldn’t, but couldn’t help ourselves when it came to dessert.  The star of Harry’s Bar is always the Toadstool Dessert – so impressive in its presentation, you almost don’t want to eat it, but the sheer combination of taste and textures with white chocolate, raspberries, mascarpone mousse, iced vanilla parfait and pistachio biscotti crunch, proves irresistible.  Heightened by the warm pistachio sauce drizzle!

Not normally an ice cream fan, we also tried the Gianduia Sundae which was completely OTT in every sense!  Harry’s Bar should offer a prize for you to get to the bottom of the glass.  That’s IF you can make your way through the mountains of chocolate mousse and salted caramel sauce complete with chunks of mouthwatering hazelnut brownie!  It’s also flecked with gold (how do they do that?!) so your Instagram fan base won’t be disappointed either.

For classic dining in the heart of the capital, Harry’s Bar with its wonderful history and it’s gloriously old-school vibe is a must-visit for tourists and locals alike.

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Written by Luxuria Lifestyle UK’s Ashleigh Whitfield

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