A new “independent neighbourhood Italian restaurant” from Jay Patel, formerly general manager at top-tier Spanish restaurant, Barrafina, and peerless udon noodle bar, Koya City; and chef Matt Beardmore, a senior sous chef at another, essential, Italian Trullo, called Legare will open at Shad Thames, London Bridge, this autumn. Legare, which means “to bind” in Italian, will replace The Watch House coffee shop, which is relocating further down the same road. The restaurant will open 16 October.
Legare, the owners say, will focus on three things which do well in this city in 2019: well-sourced seasonal ingredients from quality suppliers, fresh pasta and a small, low intervention (natural) wine list, developed by Cameron Dewar, of Elystan Street and previously Londrino.
Patel and Beardmore arrive with pedigree and say their mission is simple: “to bring the much-loved seasonal food and flavours found throughout Italy and the wider Med to London.”
The menu is described as “broadly Italian” and will feature a short, changing selection of antipasti and fresh pastas, which are inspired by “the abundance of seafood, sun-ripened vegetables and fruit that grow throughout Italy, and its surrounds.” In Britain, they will source good stuff from The Ham & Cheese Company, Neal’s Yard Dairy — the nation’s favourite cheesemonger, and Kernow Sashimi — one of the country’s elite seafood suppliers. They say they have “poured their hearts into the restaurant, with every element - from food, to interior design and branding — all a combination of their shared vision.”
The success of Trullo’s sister restaurant Padella, nearby in Borough Market, will not have gone unnoticed. Nor indeed will fresh pasta’s general, universal appeal across the city. It will form a main pillar of Legare’s offering, iterated via the likes of tajarin with ‘burro e salvia’ (egg pasta with butter and sage); and semolina-based pastas inspired by southern Italy like orecchiette with fennel sausage and swiss chard ragu; and stracci with crab, chilli, garlic, saffron, pangrattato. Prices will start at £9. Big-timers will also have a whole large Scottish lobster taglierini (£50, pre-ordered, for two to share) should they fancy it.
Beardmore, described by his former boss, Trullo’s Tim Siadatan, as “a very good chef”, said Legare’s menu is based on “beautiful Italian, British and European produce with a strong focus on vegetables, fruit, and seafood.
“We have taken influences from the best of what the different seasons offer throughout Italy and the wider Med, putting flavour and quality first.”
Antipasti will include fett’unta of goats curd and sobrasada as well as a daily raw fish offering “dictated by day-boat fishing” plus “seasonal oysters.” A “concise” dessert list will offer homemade cannoli with seasonal fillings and a weekly changing specials board will give Beardmore free-reign for other seasonal options, like the fine looking pea, broad bean and strawberry dish, pictured above, and brown shrimp on toast. Legare will also sell wines and olive oils from Sicily, Croatia, and the wider Mediterranean.
The historic riverside location in a 19th century warehouse will cater for 35 covers and adopt a pastel washed aesthetic, “commonly seen throughout Italy.” About the location, Patel said: “Having lived in South London all my life, I feel a sense of pride in opening Legare south of the river.”
He added: “We are not an out-and-out classic Italian restaurant, and do not pertain to be. Our aim has always been to find the most delicious produce, farmed in the most sustainable ways, from various farmers across Europe — and use those ingredients to create our version of the Italian food we love to eat.”