Matt Beardmore

Matt Beardmore

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Legare might be right by Tower Bridge, but it manages to feel like a friendly, laidback neighbourhood restaurant not too dissimilar from the trattoria dotted across Italy’s countryside. Rustic, regularly changing Italian dishes make up the short menu, perfect for popping in for a quick bite or something more substantial in the evenings. ‘We’re not doing strictly classical Italian food,’ says Matt. It’s more of a mix of traditional rustic Italian dishes and then some with British or more modern twists. It’s essentially produce-based and very seasonal, with the menus always being based on what we get from our suppliers. Jay and I wanted a lot of seafood on the menu and for it to be quite veggie-friendly – there’s never a huge amount of meat on there – and we’ve got a tiny little kitchen, so we’re pretty limited on what we can and can’t do. It amazes me sometimes what we manage to get out of what we have!’

There are a few mainstays that haven’t left the menu since the place opened, such as the cannoli or fennel sausage ragù, but as a rule there’s always something new to try for returning guests, thanks to Matt’s love for exploring Italy’s various regional cuisines. ‘I really love the diversity of Italian food – that’s what keeps it interesting. For one country to have so many different cuisines is what makes it stand out. I love the coastal regions in particular because of the seafood, but then the Tuscan approach to cooking really speaks to me too – it’s just so rustic and full of flavour.’

At the beginning of 2021 Legare was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand, cementing its position as a place that offers laidback flavours of regional Italy without any pomp or pretension. Matt’s love for rustic cooking makes the menus a joy to read, and the dishes he serves are some of the best examples of why we all fell in love with Italian food in the first place.