This October, Manteca, the residency from Chris Leach focusing on nose to tail cooking, hand rolled pastas and fire cooked cuts to share, will open the doors and welcome guests to its first bricks and mortar restaurant.
Located in bustling Shoreditch, Manteca’s new permanent home follows a series of successful residencies in central London, and will see Chris and the team install a glass-panelled hanging room for all their in-house butchery and salumi, and serve an evolved menu of dishes inspired by Chris’ time travelling throughout Italy.
Outside the building, a high-ceilinged former workshop and factory, a hand-wrought iron sign drawing inspiration from rustic Italian signage sits above the door and a small covered terrace allows guests to dine al fresco.
Inside, visitors will step into a dining room designed by Box 9 architects, surrounded by floor-to- ceiling windows with an open central kitchen and wood fired oven that has been designed to showcase Chris’ craft and style of cooking.
Diners can opt for one of the banquettes or simply perch on one of the bar stools lining the meat-slicing counter to watch the action. Throughout the day, a wooden pasta bench will allow the chefs to carefully roll and shape their homemade sheets of pasta.
Downstairs, the subterranean hanging room will display the salumi, all made in house, in keeping with their ethos of only buying whole animals and no part of the animal going to waste.
Oxford Sandy and Blacks will come from Caspar and Joshua Dickinson in Plumpton in Sussex, twins who have started rearing livestock and growing vegetables and herbs on their family’s land.
Herdwick cull ewes from Duchess farms where the sheep have been brought in to help manage land used for growing rapeseed, as well as cull yaws from Matt Chatfield, ducks from Creedy Carver in Devon and lamb from Kiloran Buckler’s family farm in the Llanthony Valley, south-east Wales.
Lunch and dinner at Manteca will begin with Wildfarmed Grain focaccia and sourdough with whipped brown butter. A house salumi plate will feature freshly-sliced meats from the hanging room such as fennel pollen salame or black pepper and lambrusco salami, coppa or ‘nduja, as well as sticks of coppiette, a Roman- style pork jerky, cured with Campari and fennel seeds.
Starters will include favourite dishes from the pop ups such as pig head fritti, apple mostarda; ‘nduja stamed mussels, cream, parsley and sourdough, and pickled chilli and duck sausage, as well as new plates such as clam flatbread made with wildfarmed flour and duchess farms ancient grains; pig skin ragu, Parmesan, crispy skin and mushroom ragu, toasted spelt, fried sage and egg yolk.
From the considered list of pastas, tonnarelli, brown crab cacio e pepe will make a welcome return, while new to the menu will be fazzoletti, duck ragu and seaweed tagliatelle, smoked seaweed butter.
Larger dishes cooked over fire are designed to be ordered and shared family-style by the table, such as thick-cut Oxford Sandy and Black pork chop and wood roasted sea bream. Every day, the kitchen will serve a changing line-up of specials - these might include house-made Stracciatella, olive oil; stuffed pig snout; zampone (stuffed trotter) or chicken offal frittata.
For dessert, there will be a fennel cake, pistachio ice cream and fennel pollen; ice cream cannolo; amaretti; original bean chocolate tart, whey caramel, olive oil and amaretti and delica pumpkin ice cream sandwich.
To drink, there’s a concise selection of aperitivi and amaro cocktails, with a house amaro made using artichoke leaves and chamomile. There’s Martini 1912 with Americano Rinomato, gin, Champagne cordial; a Sicilian Old Fashioned, with Averna, rye whisky, triple sec and orange syrup; and, to finish the evening with a nightcap, Espresso Cascara with Ferro China Baliva, Absolut vodka, Borghetti espresso liqueur and coconut cold brew coffee.
The wine list, curated by Emily Acha Derrington, features bottles from Italy, Europe and North America with a focus on low-intervention winemaking, as well as some classic fine wines from those regions.
Leach said, “While we’ve loved our residencies around London, it’s exciting to open our very own restaurant in Shoreditch which finally brings Manteca to life in the way I’ve always imagined. The hanging room is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and will give us the space to make and cure more salumi than ever, and to be quite experimental in what we do.
'We want Manteca to be somewhere that guests can come for a quick plate of pasta and glass of wine at lunch, or to take their time over cuts to share during a leisurely dinner with family and friends.”