Reboot of Ellory, Hackney and newly awarded with a Michelin star for 2019 guide
Leroy (pronounced ‘Lee-roy’ according to the staff) is the reincarnation of the previous Ellory in Hackney by the same team and they finished their move in Mar 2018. Later that year, Leroy was awarded a Michelin star again for the 2019 guide in their more spacious, Shoreditch location. The venue is most certainly for the casual crowd (nothing wrong for this but see full review for more context) and whilst some flavours were pleasing, this seemed to be an overly generous award from Michelin and one I can’t concur with. My bill for a snack, bread, two starters and a dessert came to £48 and I also find this to be disproportionately pricey when compared to the overall return in numerous Michelin starred restaurants for early set menus (which are better and also cheaper) citing Social Eating House, Veeraswarmy and Barrafina to name a few at random.
I arrived just before the evening opening time of 6pm in order to take pictures of the venue without any other diners (to avoid being in their faces with a camera) with another guest in front planning a future visit. I think I was waiting behind for about 4 minutes with all other staff ignoring another person waiting before being asked if I could be helped. Errr, yup, do you have a seat for one available, please? After being shown to the bar the menu and specials on a board were shown: 6 small plate and 2 main (priced) dishes and 5 snacks on the board to choose from which did seem a little slim on choices even considering the smaller sized kitchen. The bread was charged at £3.50 which I found disappointing when considering it is bought in from Dusty & Knuckle and not made on the premises. This is not to suggest it was particularly bad, but when you have bread as superb as the hand made brioche with lardo from Tim Allen at the Flitch of Bacon which is not charged at all, I see this as cheeky in comparison.
Celeriac remoulade was served with freshly made mayo, mustard, lemon, capers, chives, pepper and was simple enough, followed by a steak tartare. The latter was again simply served with an aioli emulsion. Bavette was used for the meat which was salted for 20 minutes and mixed with the usual shallots, chive, Worcestershire sauce and pepper, served on grilled sourdough. It’s a personal favourite of mine which is why I went for it, but this version had a significant amount of pepper and kick to the extent that my nasal cavity felt as if it was under attack, just too much to enjoy the otherwise simplified version. More presence of egg yolk would have been better here I feel.
Onion and rainbow chard with Parmesan was simple and good. Butter and water are boiled down, and thickened with zantham and mixed with a specific vinegar to create a pleasant dressing with a dash of mustard on base of the plate, parmesan and olive oil drizzled on the top for the finish. I actually really enjoyed this dish and have replicated it at home for interest and is not too hard to do as a bonus. As this was essentially a plate of wilted and grilled vegetables however, I found the £10 price a little optimistic based on the ingredients not being at the upper end of the expense spectrum.
Chocolate dessert was interesting as it was a pleasant ganache with ‘boozy’ prune and creme anglaise as a classic combination but, on asking if the anglaise had been made with vanilla (as it usually is and arguably should be), the answer was that it wasn’t. Understandable when there is a world supply shortage of vanilla currently, but again why not just call it custard or cream in this case? I refrained from tea or coffee as this would have only pushed the bill up more for predictably not much more return on the experience.
I actually asked why Ellory was called its original name as I always wanted to know and the answer I got back was, “I’m not sure….he’ll know (pointing at the owner) though if you want to ask him…”. Cool(!), but I wasn’t sure of the reason stopping the waitress doing that on my behalf as a simple hospitality touch. Sorry, I don’t gel with this; you can be an informal restaurant and still cater for the diner in simple courtesy and I find this lazy and too blasé. I foraged for the answer which turns out to be a play on the name of a building (Leroy House) that was opposite the old restaurant and to keep a semblance of the brand, this name was adopted properly for the reopening.
All in all, the aspect I enjoyed the most on this visit was the vegetable plate but for all the rationale above, I can’t see the price justification here, let alone the awarding of a Michelin star.
Food Grade: 61%
Location (Click google logo for directions)