Next Thursday — 18 July — Chris Leach, formerly of Pitt Cue, Kitty Fisher’s, Sager and Wilde, and Petersham Nurseries, and David Carter of Shoreditch barbecue restaurant Smokestak, will launch an indefinitely determined “restaurant residency” at 10 Heddon Street, off Regent Street, which will focus on “hand-made pastas and in-house butchery and charcuterie.” As first reported by Propel, it replaces Magpie, James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy’s ambitious but ill-fated restaurant which closed in March.
Leach and Carter’s residency is the product of a new partnership initiative from The Crown Estate, the landlord, and Montana Fogg, the restaurant design agency behind the likes of Casa Cruz and Isabel. Katerina Mercury, senior asset manager at The Crown Estate said the landlord was taking a more unorthodox approach to the location following Magpie’s struggles. “In taking a more agile approach to the 10 Heddon Street unit, we now have the ability to invite more creative partners on a short-term basis to add fresh exciting ideas to London’s dining scene,” she said.
“David and I have spent many evenings cooking, eating and drinking together, and always shared the same philosophy and approach to restaurants. When the Heddon Street site popped up, it was the perfect opportunity for us to collaborate together for a couple of months and have some fun. It will be an informal vibe that is all about sharing good food with great friends,” Leach said in a statement.
The daily menu will kick off with focaccia and a selection of house-made salumi, including mortadella, coppa di testa, and finocchiona.
“Working with British producers, including pigs from Fred Price at Gothelney Farm [in Somerset — perhaps Britain’s most celebrated pig farmer], we’ll be breaking down whole animals and using shoulder for coppa and speck; belly for pancetta and from the loin we will get both chops and Lardo. We’ll be incorporating the fat and skin into ragus and salami and bones for broths and stock,” Leach added.
To follow, a selection of small plates: Gazpacho with Cornish crab; fried ciccioli, apple ketchup; pea and summer vegetable ragu, scamorza, toasted spelt; and grilled peach salad, smoked almond and ricotta salata.
Following the departure of Leach (and Tomos Parry, who moved to open Brat) from Kitty Fisher’s at the start of 2017, the chef went on to transform the fate of Sager and Wilde on Paradise Row. There, nourishing an interest in fresh pasta, Leach’s initiative was an unmitigated success: for the business itself, which had been struggling for an identity, but also more generally, since Leach’s pasta was suddenly some of the best available in east London.
The backbone of the new residency can be traced back to that stint, with a section of the menu dedicated to hand rolled egg pasta: rigatoni, pumpkin seed pesto, and anchovy; garganelli with spicy pig tail ragu; tonnarelli, brown crab cacio e pepe and sheep’s milk ricotta ravioli, Calabrian chilli oil, London honey, and poppy seeds.
The menu will finish with a cannolo filled with with whipped sheep’s milk ricotta, candied orange peel and salted caramelised hazelnuts.