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Chef Leaves City Restaurant Which Owns His Name

James Cochran is no longer cooking at his eponymous restaurant in EC3; he will open a new site in Islington this month

London chef James Cochran wins Great British Menu NHS 70 banquet final on the BBC
Chef James Cochran
James Cochran [Official Photo]

Chef James Cochran, who has left the restaurant which continues to bear his name in the City, has announced that he will open a new site, 1251, on Islington’s (recently hard-hit) Upper Street at the end of August. The new restaurant, which replaces the much-troubled Chinese Laundry at 107 Upper Street, will seat 48 people, spread across two floors, including an outdoor terrace, which seats eight.

The “brand new project from Ja Cochran” — a variation of Cochran’s name, which he says is used by his friends, and which he is thought to be adopting because of the trademarking and continued ownership and of “James Cochran” by the owners of his previous restaurant — is the chef’s first initiative since closing what was retrospectively branded an “extended pop-up”, also on Islington’s Upper Street, in December.

The menu at 1251 is described as “modern British, taking inspiration from James’ Scottish and Vicentian roots” which will also feature “Asian influences.” Ingredients from Kent, where Cochran grew up, will be used extensively. The format of the offering will be largely geared around small plates, in the “sharing style” — where five- and eight-course menus will be served (both available as vegetarian), alongside an a la carte offering.

A sample shared with Eater includes:

  • Potato crisp with Whitstable oyster cream, seaweed, and vinegar
  • Whitstable harbour smoked kipper and leek toastie
  • Line-caught mackerel with XO sauce, cucumber, and hazelnuts
  • Potato spaghetti with cured egg yolk, truffle, and burnt butter cream
  • Jerk-spiced monkfish with iceberg lettuce, yogurt, watermelon, and coriander
  • Organic Kent breed pork with blood pudding, smoked eel, turnip kimchi, apricot, and miso
  • Salted caramel ice cream sandwich with white chocolate, strawberries, and peanuts.

Wines will be bought mainly from organic producers, with a list that feature bottles from all over the world; beers from Brick Brewery in Peckham; and cocktails, “curated by James,” will feature the “1251 Negroni” and the “1251 Bloody Mary martini”, alongside “more inventive creations,” which will take inspiration from “standout kitchen ingredients.”

The restaurant will be open every day for lunch and dinner, from 11am to 11pm.

More soon.