Is this the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the UK?
Leroy is known for being an affordable Michelin star restaurant, possibly even the cheapest in the UK, so whilst in London with the mother who isn’t one for expensive meals we booked in, so that she could tick dining in a Michelin star restaurant off her bucket list.
Located on a quiet backstreet in Shoreditch, the exterior tells you very little but then this is Shoreditch (Sugar Ape magazine are probably upstairs in the same building). Inside, Leroy is modern and relaxed, looking like a wine bar with small wooden tables, counter stools and a stack of vinyl. Talking Heads are playing as walk in.
We booked for lunch after seeing they did two courses for £24 and three for £27. Of course, we stupidly booked on a Saturday when the lunch menu is off the cards and it’s a la carte all day. D’oh. We then realised that all their prices seem to have gone up from when we booked (this also applies to the weekday lunch menu, which is now £26 and £29).
We ordered wine and started with sourdough (£3.50) and deviled eggs (£6).
The sourdough was superbly crusty and the butter was lovely so we were hopeful of a good meal. The deviled eggs had the perfect balance of creamy yolk and tart mustard. We would’ve been happy just being provided with more of these with my wine glass topped up repeatedly!
Leroy, as we discovered, is one of those hipster places where your dishes come out in random order and you’re supposed to share…even if you don’t want to, which wasn’t explained to us when ordering (we booked cos we thought we were getting a bargain three-course lunch each!). Maybe it’s just expected that when customers scan the room and see a trendy restaurant with vinyl playing we should put two and two together and ah, the ol’ ‘plates come out when ready’ schtick…
So, first to arrive, for they arrived one at a time with a lengthy pause in between, was Rhubarb and Foie Gras Terrine (£17). As a side note, #ServiceIncluded is the hashtag they promote, which is probably just as well as by Michelin starred establishment standards the service was lacking. Contrast this to other places we’ve dined in London like The Ledbury in Notting Hill or Bibbendum in Chelsea were staff seem welcome to see you and they even chat to you!
The presentation of the first proper course wasn’t exactly great either. Terrine wirh burnt toast and one and a half grapes. The terrine was smooth as expected but we couldn’t tell you if there was any rhubarb, sure there’s a slither of red stuff but it should be quite a tart, contrasting flavour. Maybe it was ‘forced’ aginst its will to be on the plate.
Some time later our next course of Jersey Royals, wild garlic, lardo di colonnetta (£12) arrived.
In the Glasgow vernacular our first thoughts, which we all agreed on, was that it looked like a plate of ‘baw sacks’, or to anyone not versed in Scottish lingo, ‘testicles’. This was not in any way an appetising look. We showed it to someone a few days later who said it looked like something from Ghostbusters. Anyway, the ectoplasm, sorry lard, was melt-in-the-mouth but lardo di colonnetta should have a herby rosemary taste but it seemed to be hiding in the same place as the rhubarb. The Jersey Royals were in fairness properly cooked potatoes and delicious. Overall, this was tasty, it just looked seriously iffy.
Finally, after another wait, Pollok, Nduja stuffed morels and mussels (£31).
This was by far the dearest of the dishes we ordered at £31 and it was superbly cooked fish. The nduja-stuffed morels were also unusual and delicious, but if we’re being picky they could’ve been spicier. A plateful of these would go down a treat as a fancy bar snack.
This time we ate one each. The cheesecake actually tasted like gooey cheese and as we discovered, Brillat-Savarin is a brie-like cheese. It worked beautifully with the orange but presentation-wise it was disapointing again as it wasn’t cut correctly so was missing a piece of both the top and bottom layers.
The chocolate, walnuts, blood orange was rich and perfect for anyone who craves a chocolate dessert. Crunchy walnuts and tart blood orange were hidden beneath the chocolate ‘soup’.
The rhubarb and custard this time definitely tasted of rhubarb, so everyone was happy. The desserts were also our favourite part of the meal.
The bill for these dishes and three glasses of wine was £128 so just under £43 per person, meaning that it probably is the cheapest Michelin Star meal we’ve ever eaten but does it even deserve a Star? Mother didn’t think so, she much preferred her meal at Oslo Court the night before, we all did actually.
Components of the meal were totally worthy of a star, others not so much. We‘ve actually had better meals and service in restaurants who merely get a mention in the guide and indeed many who aren’t even listed like the aforementioned Oslo Court. Also worth mentioning, the artwork dotted around and at the toilets reminded us of Noto in Edinburgh.
Accessibility – the restaurant is on the ground floor as are the toilets, of which there were two separate single toilets; both clean and in working order with nice hand wash. We travelled by bus – there’s a stop just a few blocks away.
+ Vinyl soundtrack of Talking Heads
+ Excellent bread and butter
+ Toilets clean and in working order
+ Accessible restaurant
+ Expertly fish course
+ Perfectly cooked potatoes but…
– …the potato course looked like man sacks
– Service lukewarm, not welcoming
– A fair wait between our ‘mains’ when we thought it would all arrive at the same time
Leroy, 18 Phipp Street, London, EC2A 4NU