Brummell recommends: Leroy

The sommeliers behind Michelin-starred restaurant Ellory may have upped sticks and moved to Shoreditch, but despite the new space and new name, it retains much of the recognisable brilliance we had come to know and love

Food and Drink 6 Sep 2018

Whelks and garlic mayonnaise at Leroy
The dining room at Leroy, Shoreditch
Leroy's Ed Thaw and Jack Lewens

The background

This is the second venture from sommeliers Jack Lewens and Ed Thaw – owners of the Michelin-starred Hackney restaurant Ellory, which closed in March to make way for this Paris-inspired bar and restaurant in Shoreditch. Leroy has inherited Ellory’s neighbourhood vibe (as well as its vinyl record collection) and its Australian chef Sam Kamienko, whose experience working at Le Verre Volé in the French capital is perfectly transferred to this bar-cum-restaurant.

The space

Leroy seeps cool from the moment you walk up to the exposed brick exterior, which is juxtaposed with the restaurant’s sign scrawled in red neon. The aforementioned record collection sits behind the bar as you enter and the vibe is palpably buzzy. The restaurant opens up the further in you go, with windows at the back flooding the space with natural light during the day. At night the place is reminiscent of a Parisian cave bar – cosy and stylishly atmospheric. The decor is neutral and pared-back – a few minimalist line drawings adorn the painted wooden panelled walls and a marble bar separates the open kitchen from the dining room. It is fresh and cool without feeling hostile, like a blank canvas. If the walls could talk they would probably suavely decline, instead making way for the food to do all the talking.

The menu

Printed daily, the menu changes depending on what is fresh that day, with a few staples to tempt diners back. There are a few recognisable favourites from the menu at Ellory (bonnet saucisson from the charcuterie section and smoked trout from the ‘plates’ section), but we opted for bread and butter and whipped cods roe and crisps, listed under ‘snacks’ to start. Simple food is often the best and nowhere is this clearer than on Leroy’s ‘plates’ menu, which focuses purely on quality.

Staff recommend choosing a selection of five or six smaller plates but we opted for three to accompany a larger sharing plate of whole lemon sole with green peppercorn, brown butter and samphire that could not be ignored. Plates came out one by one, and as our sardines a la plancha arrived we were instantly transported harbourside, such was the freshness of the succulent, flaky meat – this would have been devoured at breakneck speed had it not been for the delicate process of bone removal slowing us to a more relaxed eating pace.

The delicious courgette, spelt, basil and parmesan dish was a gorgeously creamy contrast (and one dish we are keen to try to create at home) as were the Vesuvio tomatoes, olive oil and marjoram. Our dessert of apricot and almond tart was delectably refined and very French, and we were delighted when the little chocolate pot with raspberry was not quite as ‘little’ as we expected. Each dish was paired with a surprising yet perfectly complementary selection of wines from the restaurant’s carefully curated list. We were sad to not have allowed enough room to explore the cheese section of the menu but it’s a good excuse to make a return trip soon.

The bill

Sharing plates and wine from £100 for two

The verdict

An achingly cool and charming restaurant by day and a lively, stylish bar/eatery by night – unsurprisingly, it hasn’t taken Leroy long to become an integral part of the Shoreditch neighbourhood. Here’s hoping cheaper rents elsewhere don’t tempt them away anytime soon.

18 Phipp Street, Shoreditch, EC2A 4NU;