One Leicester Street – Not a restaurant review:
The soft launch of One Leicester Street coincided with a night out for me and a couple of friends. What could be better than half price food? (apart from a half price wine list).
One Leicester Street has taken over the space that was St John’s Chinatown – and although the makeover has created a softer environment with achingly on-trend Farrow and Ball coloured walls and bare filament light bulbs – the menu does bear a striking resemblance to that of the preceding restaurant. But that might just have something to do with the fact that Tom Harris who originally gained a Michelin Star for St Johns is still head chef.
I don’t normally write reviews of soft launch events. The whole point of a soft launch is to iron out the wrinkles…and as such commenting on food and service seems unfair and irrelevant. But, in this case the food was excellent and the service smooth.
Although three of us were meeting up, the last of our party was delayed, so my companion and I went ahead with a shellfish course.
Her crab, fennel and monks beard was picture perfect and apparently delicious. Monks beard is an ingredient appearing on every hip menu in town at the moment so it was reassuring to see that One Leicester Street were there…and actually it’s an excellent complement to seafood with a slightly salty piquancy, like a more delicate form of samphire.
My cockles with jersey royals and saffron was a dish I fully intend trying to make at home. And that’s a compliment to the chef – I loved the combination of a rich saffron sauce with nutty little new potatoes and succulent cockles. And I apologise without mitigation for sounding like Greg Wallace.
While we waited for our friend we nibbled at olives…and when she arrived we were all quick to order. For two of us, the smoked dexter – by reputation one of the finest breeds of grassfed beef in the UK – served with beetroot and horseradish and for one the roast kid with peas and bacon.
The dexter was lush. Very tender meat with just a hint of smokiness. Beetroot and horseradish were the perfect partners.
Roast kid was tender and well flavoured. Not the prettiest dish I’ve seen, but my taster was excellent.
For dessert we shared a brown butter and honey tart and a salt caramel apple and hazelnut. Actually we shouldn’t have been sharing. A dessert each would have been a better idea…so next time (and there will be a next time) I will be ordering the salt caramel all for myself.
Excellent food, smart service and a wine list that is maybe a little expensive for the area (cheapest bottles are £25) but for all that our Picpoul de Pinet Domaine des Lauriers was lovely and fresh and the two glasses of house red we drank with the main course were really pleasant (as evidenced by the blurry photos of desserts). I’d recommend sharing plates, which wouldn’t have worked for us for timing reasons, but which will allow you to sample a whole range of the innovative dishes on offer.
1 Leicester Street