18 Phipp Street, EC2A 4NU
WLC Rank : 56
Glass from : £ 7 (125 ml)
BEST FORVinyl collection
Kitchen counter dining
Wines ranging from eclectic to classic
Service included in menu pricing
Wines from Ruppert Leroy & Richard Leroy
Ed Thaw’s exciting list opens with the mantra, “May we drink as long as we want to... and want to as long as we drink.”
Occupying the wedge of a site which was previously Edwin’s wine bar, Leroy, kitchen, counter and groovy dining room is brought to you by sommeliers, Ed Thaw and Jack Lewens, and chef Sam Kamienko – the team behind Ellory (RIP). Indeed, Leroy was Ellory’s more easily pronounced ‘pet name’.
Ed Thaw aims for a list “free from dogma,” where wines have “something to say and a sense of place.” Rather than discuss “boring” matters such as sulphur content, he aims to mix “the fun and funky” with the classics. “We’ve seen where dogmatism gets us with Trump, May and Corbyn, so let’s not have it in wine. Just as I don’t want to drink cloudy grape juice all night long I don’t want to drink average Burgundy either.”
As with dishes, the wine list changes frequently, which might feature Grüner Veltliner ‘Langenlois Spiegel’ 1998 (Loimer Kamptal) in magnum, or a 2006 Napa Cabernet from Corison.
“You have to give people reasons to go back,” says sage Thaw. “No sacred cows on the food menu or the wine list. Keep it fluid. We have 25 suppliers for 100 bins which is insane but it does allow our customers to always find something new.’ In terms of food matches, Thaw says, “don’t f*ck with the classics, frankly.” Hence, it doesn’t get better than Fino and jamón, he suggests, although “skin contact wines with roast meats” has proved a recent personal hit.
Asked if Leroy is the best place to savour wine, Thaw, who read history at Cambridge University, is candid. “F*ck no. I love my restaurant but I’m not Balzac.” Thus he also rates the bar at The Remedy, Sager + Wilde Hackney Road (where he worked as GM) and Noble Rot. “Anywhere where you’ve got friends and the list is always changing.”
Thaw notes atmosphere effects the appreciation of wine. “There seems to be some rule that you should only play happy music in restaurants which I definitely don’t agree with. Wine and music are paths to reflection and there’s something thrilling about playing Joy Division on a real pisser of a day.”
Overall, now is the time to celebrate wine’s diversity, says Thaw. “So many new importers cropping up which makes this job continuously more of a challenge. And I’ve got enough on my plate without getting worked up about some wine controversy.”
By Douglas Blyde.
WLC Overall Score 92.7
WLC Overall Rank : 56
Glass from : £ 7 (125 ml)