Throughout your life you’ll have lots of different types of conversation in lots of different settings. From sloppy sofa DMCs (Deep Meaningful Conversations), to duvet storytelling, to shouting matches live from that age-old arena: the pavement. The point is, some settings naturally suit a certain type of conversation, and Leroy - a Shoreditch wine bar and restaurant - is the place to go when you’re looking to have one filled with equal parts smiles, booze, and bread.
Leroy excels at being a place to talk, drink, and eat. In that order. It’s a bits and bobs wine bar, rather than a big plate of lamb restaurant. Think a glass of bubbles and a debrief here, some silky anchovies in olive oil there. At most times of day it’s full of people laughing, glasses clinking, and butter silently spreading. You come here for a good time, not a short time, and it makes for an extremely pleasant rhythm:
“Wait, you did what last night?”
“All salads should be 80% cheese.”
[Cheese migrates from fork to wine glass]
“You know what, I need a holiday.”
[Glugs end of cheesy wine]
“Have you seen that thing on Netflix?”
[Mops quail juices with bread]
[A plate of artichokes appears at the table]
“Oh, I forgot we ordered that.”
Before you know it, it’ll be later than you thought. Time can fly at Leroy. Whether you’re sitting up at the counter, midsummer, in a room as yellow as your cheese plate, or hunkering down in the winter, escaping Shoreditch in Shoreditch, it’s a lovely setting to happily lose hours.
With all that said, it’s not faultless. Some of the larger (and more expensive) dishes here don’t match the simple deliciousness of the smaller, mainly vegetarian, ones. The big boys can be simply underwhelming, and when you’re paying £25-£30 for a plate of duck or cod, you want it to be memorable.
But, that’s the thing with Leroy. Even the good stuff: the chicory salad, the bits on toast, a delicious bit of pumpkin, aren’t front and centre. Because this isn’t a place you’ll leave talking about the food. It’s a place you’ll just leave talking.
This is good bread, but don’t hoover it all up straight away. You’ll want it to mop up with, and to use as a vehicle to carry other bits into your mouth.
We’re suckers for a good skewer, and this is a really good one. Get it if it’s on.
Fine, but we prefer our anchovies to be paddling in a pool of oil.
One of those things where you’re like ‘ooh, yeah, mmm’ but forget to mention when someone asks what you ate the next day.
A superior thing on toast. The beef is tangy and comes with a horseradish-tasting sauce on the side.
You know that ‘Hey Mickey’ song? Swap Mickey for chicory, and then sing it in your head. An excellent salad (with an excellent amount of cheese).
This is the kind of plate you want to do things with. As in, you want to put it in on a fat bit of toast with an egg on top at home. Or chuck it over some pasta. It’s rich and tasty.
Variegated is a fancy way of saying multicoloured. Is it relevant? No. Is this dish worth eating? Yes. It tastes great.
This is like that celebrity you were obsessed with when you were younger. You eventually met them after paying for a £27 meet and greet. And they disappointed you.
The first couple of bites is like The Matrix, the next few are like The Matrix Reloaded, and then by the end it feels very Matrix Revolutions.