St Leonards Reviewed: A Lunch That’s Light On The Stomach, Not So Much On The Wallet


St Leonard, Old Street


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The duck hearts (left) and eel (right)

In the midst of all this heat, guzzling a Gregg’s sausage and bean melt suddenly isn’t such an appealing lunch option. So where do you turn to for a lighter bite, which doesn’t leave you reaching for the office Jaffa Cakes at 2.30?

If you work anywhere near Old Street, St Leonards is certainly an option. The brainchild of Andrew Clarke and Jackson Boxer — proponents of ‘pre-industrial’ cooking (think roaring log fires, buckets of ice) — this is a bright, be-foliaged restaurant. It’s also conspicuously empty at 1pm on a Wednesday.

The strawberries with buttermilk and sorrel

Perhaps that’s why they’ve launched a new set lunch menu: a minimalist docket of dishes, served in equally biju portions. Succulent halves of duck heart stud a backdrop of celtuce and almond, and instantly makes us fall in love with the salad again. In the only other available starter, tiny cubes of smoked eel are somewhat lost in a sea of tomatoes.

The seabass — skin crisped to the nth degree and twinned oddly well with creme fraiche — is a highlight. Buttermilk, topped with frozen sorrel crystals (reminiscent of those glass chippings you get on graves) tastes downright strange to start with, but somehow increases with deliciousness the deeper you dig.

This is excellent summer eating, no doubt — and nary a carb in sight. We just wonder if the £22 price tag (three courses) is realistic. Somewhere to woo a big client, rather than dine alone on a Tuesday.

St Leonards lunch menu, served Tuesday-Friday, 12pm-3pm (also as a set evening menu, 6pm-7pm)
Londonist was invited by the restaurant to eat here.

Last Updated 05 July 2019

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