You’ll find Legare at the base of the Cardamom Building. It’s an old Victorian spice warehouse down a flat-cobbled street criss-crossed with iron walkways in the shadow of Tower Bridge.
The buildings there are all named after the spices that were stored in them; Cardamom is next to Cayenne, and opposite Vanilla & Sesame. And you couldn’t find a much more appropriate space for this restaurant, which continues that old-fashioned tradition of basically acting as a conduit of flavour for the city.
The space itself is quite small, but inviting nevertheless, with room for roughly two dozen diners at a time in tables, booths, and bar seating. The walls are all washed in a pale pastel, and punctuated by the occasional bright abstract painting, and no-one is more than a few yards from the bustling open kitchen.
Inside that kitchen you’ll likely find the power duo behind the entire operation; Jay Patel (formerly the general manager of Spanish giant Barrafina) and chef Matt Beardmore (Sous chef at Italian stalwart Trullo). They’ve gone all-out Italian here, making fresh pasta daily on-site, and sourcing everything they can’t make from a meticulously well-curated selection of suppliers.
The upshot? A seasonally rotating menu of Southern Italian goods, starting with antipasti like rich, red prawns with charred lemon; creamy stracciatella cheese with spicy sobrasada sausage, oregano & olive oil; and a strikingly fresh citrus salad with punchy mint leaves, fennel & radish.
The fresh pasta comes from a relatively short list, and includes coin-like orecchiette with fennel sausage & a herb-loaded cavolo nero ragu; flat stracci with crab, chilli, garlic, and saffron; and little agnolotti parcels filled with Neal’s Yard goats curd.
To drink, there’s a concise list of cocktails (literally two: a negroni and a spritz) and a considerably less concise list of predominantly Italian wines.
NOTE: Legare is open Monday to Saturday for lunch & dinner. You can see the full menu, and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Legare | Cardamom Building, 31G Shad Thames, SE1 2YB
Like fresh pasta? Then you’ll love Padella.