James Lowe to open first solo venture

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant

James Lowe wants Lyle's to be 'a local restaurant for local people' (Image courtesy of John Carey)
James Lowe wants Lyle's to be 'a local restaurant for local people' (Image courtesy of John Carey)
James Lowe, one third of the former Young Turks chef collective, is preparing to launch his first restaurant - Lyle’s – on the ground floor of the Tea Building in Shoreditch.

Expected to open in May, the 48-cover, all-day British restaurant will be similar to St John Bread & Wine (which Lowe previously headed up for three years) in style, with a casual design and an accessible price point.

“This will very much be a local restaurant for local people,” Lowe told BigHospitality. “We’ve got 600-800 people right above us in the Tea Building and we want to appeal to them as a place to go for a great lunch.

“In the evening, I hope this is the sort of place people will cross London for because of the set menu offering. The concept isn’t necessarily something ‘new’ or ‘out there’, we’re just taking it back to what restaurants are supposed to be about – looking after customers with great food and wine, charming service and good value for money.”

Lyle’s will be situated in the same building that houses Pizza East​ and Shoreditch House​ on the roof. The new restaurant is co-owned by Trishna Restaurants Ltd (the company behind Trishna, Gymkhana, Bubbledogs & Kitchen Table); Lowe, who will head up the kitchen; and his business partner John Ogier, who will oversee front-of-house.

The Young Turks

Speaking of his time working with fellow chefs Isaac McHale (who now runs the Clove Club​) and Ben Greeno (who has since moved to Australia) as part of The Young Turks collective, which promoted British food and small producers, Lowe added: “It was a hell of a lot of fun and I felt like I was doing something really worthwhile and valid.

“We developed new ideas and were sometimes forced to innovate, and some of that’s stayed with me. The experience, along with my time at The Ten Bells in Spitalfields, helped me develop my techniques and come up with the idea for this restaurant.

“I’ve been looking for a solo venture for about four years, since being the head chef of Bread & Wine. I started cooking because I wanted to open my own restaurant. I would never want to do a chain, but I would certainly love to open in some different places in the future. It’s not about constantly moving on though - I’m here to stay in my restaurant.”

The menu at Lyle’s is still being drawn up but is expected to feature some sea urchin roe upon opening and lamb leg for lamb prosciutto later on in the year. Lunch dishes will range from £7- £15 while the daily changing set dinner menu will cost £39. A particular focus will be placed on the coffee offering– something which Lowe believes other restaurants don’t do particularly well.

The design will feature an open kitchen, with three south-facing windows offering plenty of natural light. Painted brick, reclaimed wood and vintage furniture will help form the restaurant’s ‘unintimidating and warm’ feel.

Lyle’s will open in the Tea Building at 56 Shoreditch High Street, London, in May. 

Related topics: Business, Venues, People, Restaurants

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