Like it did for most Londoners, Omicron put paid to our pre-Christmas plans, which included a visit to Leroy but good things come to those who wait and a (long overdue) return visit was certainly worth the rescheduling. We loved Leroy back when it opened in 2018, after the team had closed Ellory and swapped Hackney for Shoreditch, and it’s fair to say the love affair has continued – we’ve even fallen for their spin-off concept Royale.
If you’re the indecisive type, you’ll be pleased to hear that Head Chef Simon Shand has just introduced a carte blanche menu in the evenings so you can let the chefs do the choosing. We however had our eyes on a few (ok several) dishes on the a la carte menu so we went down that route.
Leroy is a wine bar as much as a restaurant and the list is long, so the best thing to do is ask for recs and let the experts do their thing – we requested a refreshing white and got a bottle of Sassi Bianco Trebbiano in return, which really hit the spot and was also a perfect pair for a snack of devilled eggs.
Then it was onto calcots and romesco sauce, made even nuttier with a scattering of almonds across the top; a fat pumpkin raviolo coated in spiced butter; a chicory and walnut salad blanketed in gorgonzola shavings so delicate and pale that we almost mistook them for curls of white chocolate; a crisp pastry tart case filled with a rich onion mousse and a pile of raw mushrooms; and Cornish pollock punched up with salty mussels, smoky chorizo, creamy cauliflower puree and tied together with a split oil sauce.
With only a handful of desserts on the menu, it seemed rude not to try the majority. The Mont Blanc had a great meringue base, crisp on the outside with a gooey fudgy centre, but was giving us more caramel and coffee notes than chestnut (although that’s hardly a bad thing). The rhubarb, vivid pink poached fruit, sat on a rich vanilla-laden custard, was Leroy summed up in one bowl – taking in-season produce, treating it simply and showing it off to its best.
Leroy was a cracking little spot when it first opened but it’s got even better; there’s a quiet confidence and effortless air about the place. They know how to pace the dishes, when to turn up the stereo, what wine to you need and when to bring you more of it, and you can’t really ask for much more than that.
18 Phipp St, London EC2A 4NU