Restaurant Review: Chamberlain’s, Leadenhall Market in London
If you work in the city you’ll certainly be familiar with the beautiful Leadenhall Market off Gracechurch Street. At the end of the working week you’ll see it packed with punters and hear the sound of a hundred conversations echoing through the vaulted Victorian ceilings.
But, amid the bustle, there’s still a quiet space where you can enjoy a relaxing Friday night meal.
Squeeze through the throng and you’ll find yourself at Chamberlain’s – one of the finest fish and seafood restaurants in the city, and a business which has spanned four generations. Its parent company, Chamberlain and Thelwell, was founded in 1947 and is based at another famous market – Billingsgate.
Chamberlain’s restaurant first opened in Leadenhall in 2001. Previously a private members‘ dining room, it was carefully restored and is now described as ‘modern meets gentleman’s club.’
Although it appears relatively small from the outside the restaurant spans four floors. But, despite its grand size, there’s still an intimate feel to the place. If you’re sitting at the front, floor to ceiling windows offer a great view of the market and let in a pleasant murmur from the crowds outside.
The welcome was friendly and the staff were incredibly attentive throughout the evening, removing wine glasses and topping up without even a glance from me.
Impressed by the front-of-house, I was eager to see what was in store on the menu. Foodie purists will be pleased to know that the bread is baked fresh at the restaurant every day, the eels are smoked in-house and even the vinegars and beer for the fish and chips are homemade.
Andrew Jones, Executive Chef at Chamberlain’s since 2011, has an impressive resume – after winning the prestigious Roux Scholarship in 2004 he honed his skills at the at the three Michelin-starred Michel Bras in Laguiole, France and has worked at many fine establishments – including Claridge’s, The Westbury in Mayfair and the Mandarin Oriental in Knightsbridge. His style is described as ‘Yin and Yang’, a combination of classic and contemporary.
Keen to try a range of dishes, I opted for the tasting menu (five courses for £59, £94 if you’d like to include a flight of wine).
I began with an Irish oyster with an espresso-sized cup of delicious lobster bisque, accompanied by a 2014 Muscadet.
This was followed by Chamberlain’s ham, egg and chips – which, thankfully, I found to be a much finer version of the Shirley Valentine classic. A beautifully slow cooked duck egg painted with gold leaf oozed yolk all over the Jabugo ham slivers and honeyed parsnip chips. The dish was served with a refreshing glass of Spanish Manzanilla la Gitana.
Next was a beautiful fillet of Darjeeling tea smoked mackerel – proving that Chamberlain’s really does know its stuff when it comes to fish. It was accompanied by a 2013 Saint-Veran Domaine de la Denante, from Burgundy, which smelt uncannily like Sherry but, to my relief, tasted nothing like granny’s favourite tipple. The surprisingly crisp wine matched the fish perfectly.
Roasted Galloway beef with truffle butter sauce arrived after a short breather and proved one of the favourites of the evening. The meat was cooked to pink perfection and accessorised with a succulent confit shallot, served in its crispy casing, and an Anna potato which has been lovingly doused in melted butter. A glass of 2011 Barbera d’Asti Superiore went perfectly with the beef.
Last, but by no means least, arrived a deconstructed mango and passion fruit cheesecake with an impossibly smooth sorbet, and tiny cubes of jelly which produced a powerful hit of mango. The dessert was matched with a sweet 2010 Montbazillac, Domaine de Grangeneuve, France, which especially enhanced the fabulous taste of the fruit.
If you’re looking to wind down after a busy week with exceptional food in a peaceful environment, Chamberlain’s is well worth a look on a Friday night. If prefer a buzz while you dine, check it out on Thursday night or for lunch throughout the week.
Address: Leadenhall Market, 23-25 Leadenhall Market EC3V 1LR
T: 020 7648 8690