Knightsbridge French restaurant Racine, run by chef patron Henry Harris (pictured), has closed after 12 years in business.
The restaurant shut its doors on 9 January after Harris sold the business and resigned as a director with immediate effect.
Harris cited an increase in running costs and a “rapidly shifting residential demographic” in the Knightsbridge area, which caused several new operational challenges, for the decision.
Harris is not aware of the new owners’ plans but the Racine sign will remain in place ahead of a refurbishment.
Harris will now look to take the Racine Kitchen brand elsewhere in London in 2015, as well as exploring other opportunities for business consultancy in the interim.
Harris said of the closure: “After 12 glorious years of serving great food and wine to a great selection of people, I have sold the restaurant and I am moving on. I want to thank our guests for all their support and enthusiasm for Racine over the years. I couldn’t have done it without the team of likeminded people, who have always shown a genuine pride to be part of the Racine family, and to whom I owe a debt of gratitude. Opening the restaurant was the fulfilment of a lifelong ambition and this is just a step in its evolution of the restaurant until it finds a new home in 2015.”
Harris co-founded Racine in 2002 with former Fish! operations director Eric Garnier and Racine quickly became a Knightsbridge neighbourhood favourite, serving signature dishes such as côte de boeuf with Béarnaise sauce; veal chop and Roquefort butter; and lapin à la moutarde.
The restaurant was later subject of a legal battle between Harris and Garnier, which eventually saw Harris buy out Garnier’s share in 2008, with the backing of George Bennell of the Fresh Olive Company, and kitchen designer James Lee.