107 Upper Street , London, N1 1QN

James Cochran chef London

SquareMeal Review of 1251



In 2016, ex-The Ledbury chef James Cochran opened his eponymous debut in EC3, winning critical praise. He’s since left to open this intimate, two-floor site on Islington’s restaurant-heavy Upper Street.

Cochran’s departure from his former venture was a messy one, involving a legal battle with his former investors that has resulted in the EC3 site still operating under his name. The chef hasn’t let any of this dampen his enthusiasm though, turning out a confidently ambitious offering at 1251. Lunch times here see a great value express menu where you can enjoy three plates for under £20, while come dinnertime, guests can choose between the à la carte, or a five-course tasting menu.

Begin with snacks such as a potato crisp topped with blobs of whipped oyster cream and seaweed, which eats like a pimped-up Walkers, before moving on to more substantial plates, including strips of pork complemented by crumbly blood pudding, a slick of smoked eel sauce and a shard of light crackling that successfully avoids teeth-breaking territory.

Vegetarian options also impress, with innovative takes such as pickled and roasted heritage carrots finished off with a fluffy carrot meringue and a sprinkling of granola. Elsewhere, there’s a bowl of astonishingly good nugget-like bites, which wrap buttery chunks of rabbit in a coating of fried breadcrumbs, further elevated by a potent smear of horseradish and pickled plum.  

Cochran’s background may be at traditional, Michelin-star bearing The Ledbury, but at 1251, he successfully blends fine ingredients with his Caribbean heritage, casual interiors, and a hip hop soundtrack. Make no mistake, this is a thoroughly modern restaurant.

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1251 Location

107 Upper Street , London N1 1QN

Opening times

Mon-Sun 11am-11pm

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