Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke already have a hit restaurant on their hands with Brunswick House in Vauxhall, and now the pair have moved north of the river with St Leonards. They’ve taken over what used to be Eyre Brothers and completely transformed the space, with cool concrete, wooden tables, large windows, a horseshoe bar with plenty of room for those only popping in for a drink (there’s a 200 strong wine list so you’ll be spoilt for choice), an open ice bar for shellfish (where’ll you likely find Boxer) and a log-fuelled fire for cooking big joints of meat and fish (manned by Clarke).
You can tell that rustic and hearty cookery has been a big inspiration at St Leonards – the menu changes according to what fresh produce is available, including veg from Boxer’s family farm – but the food here is most definitely modern, with a lot of punchy flavour combos at play. A large grilled leek, deeply charred on the outside, comes topped with an almond cream so intense it tasted like cheese sauce; Dexter bavette, bang on medium rare, is finished with cured bone marrow making it extra beefy; and the hispi cabbage cooked in pork fat and covered in a meaty xo crumb is incredibly savoury and incredibly moreish.[easy-image-collage id=112927]
Puds very much follow suit; the salt caramel tart had bitterness from East India sherry and spice from cardamom ice cream to stop it being overly sweet, and the green Sichuan pepper panna cotta, which sounds a bit mad, was actually very refreshing thanks to strawberries and a herby sweet cicely ice cream.
All in all there wasn’t a flat note throughout our entire meal, including the service. St Leonards has been one of the most anticipated openings of the year and it definitely lives up to the hype.
70 Leonard St, London EC2A 4QX