Former Leon duo reunite for pork-inspired restaurant

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pig

Tom Ward wants to bring the UK's best purveyors and producers of pork under one roof
Tom Ward wants to bring the UK's best purveyors and producers of pork under one roof
The former co-founder and operations manager of all-day café concept Leon have reunited to launch a new restaurant concept in London dedicated to pork.

Chef Allegra McEvedy, who founded Leon in 2004, and Tom Ward will open ‘Blackfoot’ in Exmouth Market in December. Ward told BigHospitality that an extra emphasis will be placed on the breeding and sourcing of their animals at the 40-cover restaurant.

“It’s about getting the best pork there is under one roof,” he said. “I’ve always loved pork - it has bags of character and so much to offer. We are sourcing pork from a couple of small-batch farmers. We have a gammon from a wonderful place out in Dorset where the pigs live in the forest and are fed on goats whey from the cheese maker across the road. It produces the most stunning, ruby-coloured, tender steaks.

“We have spent so much time finding the right supplier of our pork and we’ve built a really good relationship with the whole supply chain. We’ve spent time at the abattoir just up the road from the farm so we know exactly how our pigs are treated and dealt with as they go to slaughter.”

Emotional attachment

Ward’s ex-colleague McEvedy has helped to shape the new restaurant’s opening menu, with the kitchen being headed up by ex-Copita chef James Knight. Much of the pork will be supplied by Mark and Paul Haywood of Dingley Dell and dishes will include slow-roasted belly with Szechuan pepper and black treacle, pulled pork tacos, and Vietnamese pot belly salad.

At lunchtime, Porchetta will be served hot from the counter, carved up and sandwiched between two slices of bread with salsa verde.

McEvedy said: “I’ve always had an emotional attachment to all things porky, so opening a pig-centric restaurant is a bit of a dream come true. No animal has such incredible diversity and Tom and I have been having tons of fun in the kitchen exploring the full, impressive breadth of what a pig has to offer.

“The menu is characterful, fun, and not exclusively piggy, bringing together other ingredients and flavours that sit well in the face of such porcinicity.”

Neighbourhood haunt

The drinks list at Blackfoot has been given the same amount of attention as the rest of the menu, with a variety of cocktails, Kirs using British liqueurs and some ciders from Herefordshire and Somerset all on offer.

Blackfoot’s interior layout will be essentially split in two. The front area will make use of the banquette seating from the original Clark’s Pie and Mash Shop which previously occupied the site, along with some high stools for a quick bite.

The back area of the 1,300 sq.ft restaurant has a mezzanine level and will available for bigger groups wanting a longer dining experience.

“I want to create the type of place where as soon as you walk in the door you instantly feel at ease,” added Ward. “A neighbourhood haunt; a welcoming place with friendly people and good food, somewhere you can pop in at any time for any occasion.”

Blackfoot restaurant will open at 46 Exmouth Market in December.

Related topics: Business, People, Restaurants, Venues

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