Test Drives

leroyquail2Quail Skewers

What can you tell us about Leroy?

Leroy is, in its simplest form, the former London Fields Michelin-starred restaurant Ellory but transported to Shoreditch, including all the same staff. But it's also more than that. The move has given them the opportunity to change the  restaurant with a completely new menu and a new approach, one that's more akin to a Parisian bistro (but with a distinct Shoreditch vibe).

Where is it?

They've taken over the space recently vacated by Edwin's, which is just opposite another Shoreditch fave, Oklava. It's quite the site - somewhat triangular in shape which allows for light streaming through on three sides - just what you need as the days get longer. 

Transport-wise, it's about five minutes walk from either Old Street or Shoreditch High Street stations. 

leroyLooking towards the kitchen (from more or less where we were sitting - pic by Leroy)

And where should we sit?

We'd say grab any table by a window if you can - we rather liked our seats in the corner furthest from the door. And if you're of the counter-dining persuasion, there are a few counter seats directly in front of the kitchen. 

Where should we meet for a drink first?

If you're meeting someone here, there are a few stools in a small area at the front if you want to grab one of their appealing spritzes while waiting. Alternatively, nearby options are the highly recommended Scout, just two minutes away on Great Eastern Street and the bar at Merchants Tavern is usually a good spot for a drink too. 

lardoWhite asparagus, lardo and an egg yolk

And how about kicking off with a cocktail at the restaurant?

There is a small cocktail menu, so you could start with a negroni, but we went for the rhubarb spritz (£11), made from their own vermouth. The spritz will change regularly, and ours was a taste of the summer to come.  

Are there menu-reading snacks?

It's always worth grabbing something quick while you're looking at the rest of the menu - and there is a snacks section here. We suggest immediately ordering one of their quail skewers each (£6). Yes, you could stare these, but you really won't want to - delicious chunks of quail with a spiced honey sauce. One of those dishes you'll want to order another of immediately after finishing. 

Also be sure to order the bread (from the great Dusty Knuckle). Most of the dishes come with a sauce you'll want to mop up - and the bread is excellent. 

sweetbreadsLamb sweetbreads, morel mushrooms, nettle and spinach sauce (and turnips)

And how about the rest of the menu - how's it divided?

You can read the menu online here, and as you can see it's separated into snacks, charcuterie, plates, dessert and cheese. We skipped on the charcuterie section, but portions looked generous as we spied on nearby tables - and the 20-month Basque ham should be worth ordering (£9).

The main plates section is a collection of small and large plates - but everything can be shared. So our usual advice for ordering from this section stands - order a few dishes at a time to help pace yourselves, and hang onto a copy of the menu so you can order more.

From that menu - what stood out?

The smoked eel, quail egg and crepe parmentier (£7) was another star of the snacks menu - and as with the quail, you may want to order one of these each to get your fair share. Of the main plates section, we'd definitely recommend:

  • White asparagus, lardo and an egg yolk (£12.50) - because lardo DOES make everything better
  • Lamb sweetbreads, morel mushrooms, nettle and spinach sauce (£16.50) - remember we told you to save some bread for mopping up the sauce. Case in point. 
  • The "Christian Parra" boudin noir, potato puree and watercress (£16) - this was our dish of the night. French-style black pudding cooked to perfection, matched with creamy mash and extremely fresh watercress. If you're fussy about sharing, this could easily stand in for a main course, size-wise. 

Of course, the menu will change with the seasons - but if a variation of the above is available, start with those. 

boudin"Christian Parra" boudin noir, potato puree and watercress

And how about dessert?

We'd had rather a lot by this point, so we just stuck to one - the muscat creme caramel (£7). Creme caramel was one of our favourite things growing up and this is an excellent version, covered in sweet muscat flavoured caramel. Just wonderful. And if dessert isn't your thing, head to the cheese section - with three on offer for £4 each or £10 for all of them. 

Of course, you can always head back to that cocktail menu for their "After" selection of cocktails too. 

And what about the wine list?

Leroy is as much about wine as it is the food, with a great deal of care taken on the menu. Not only that, but they're creating their own wine too. We tried that and can recommend their own "Malvasia blend Seme 2016 Vigneti Tardis Campania" (£8 glass/£45 bottle). They'll have a red on soon too. As for the rest of the list, wines start at £25 a bottle and head up quite quickly to the £35-£50 mark - and you can always blow out with a 2003 Cote-Rotie Brune 2003 at £200. 

It's an extremely varied list and we'd recommend letting them lead you towards something new. 

cremeMuscat creme caramel

Overall?

The move to Shoreditch has been a positive one for the restaurant formerly known as Ellory. Whether you're coming in for a full-blown meal or to work through their wine list with some snacks, charcuterie and cheese we think you'll do very well here. A great atmosphere, lovely staff and yes - damned good skewers. 

 

More about Leroy

Where is it? 18 Phipp Street, London EC2A 4NU

How to book: Call 0207 739 4443

Find out more: Visit Leroy's website or follow @leroyshoreditch Instagram. 

 

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