The owners of Ellory, the Michelin-starred restaurant in Hackney which Eater revealed was closing, confirmed in March 2018 they would open a new restaurant, called Leroy, in Shoreditch. Seven months later, that restaurant now has a Michelin star. Here’s how, and why, it came to be.
Asked why they had made the decision to close after two and a half years, sommelier owners Jack Lewens and Ed Thaw were frank. Thaw said, “We’re closing Ellory to take advantage of cheaper rents in Shoreditch (I know!)”
He added that the new site, where Edwin’s Wine Bar used to live, ”feels very different to what we have in Mare Street so it makes sense to have it as a new name — to move on from our previous chef [Matt Young] and to allow us to focus on something simpler (we’re pretty simple anyway) and warmer.
“I am not expecting us to be in the running for a [Michelin] star although we were proud to retain it and challenge some people’s notions of what those restaurants should be.”
Based on Thaw’s description of the style of the new site, it appears that it will be a bar first, and a restaurant second — not unlike the many Parisian “cave” restaurant annexes, such as Septime Cave, Vivant Cave, Frenchie Bar a Vins and Le Chateaubriand’s Le Cave, who themselves have been an inspiration for London wine bars like 40 Maltby Street, P Franco and Sager + Wilde.
The new restaurant Leroy “will feel more like the kind of places in Paris where [head chef] Sam [Kamienko] used to cook and the wine list will expand and loosen up quite a bit,” he said. Expect to see a broad church from classics to some of the more bonkers stuff. We’ll also be pouring all of the wines from Vigneti Tardis, our winemaking project in Campania.”
“As at Ellory there will be a heavy emphasis on music with our vinyl collection making the trip down Hackney road,” Thaw said.
“The rest we’ll figure out as we become a part of this new neighbourhood. There’s a lot of stuff incoming in the next few months and we can’t wait to get stuck in.”