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  • Restaurants
  • Hackney
  • price 3 of 4
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. Pidgin
  2. Pidgin
  3. Pidgin
  4. Pidgin
  5. Pidgin

Time Out says

5 out of 5 stars

Pidgin is a modern British restaurant in Hackney, serving a weekly-changing tasting menu.

Variety isn’t just the spice of life, it’s the very essence of it. The abundantly charming Pidgin has been calmly serving up a different weekly tasting menu since opening in 2015. No dishes are ever repeated – even if they’re really, really tasty. Which makes what you’re reading right now almost redundant. We’ll be joyfully singing the praises of a delicate hake and kohlrabi egg drop soup or a zingy lime and apple choux bun, but by the time you scroll through these words, they’ll have been razed from the menu, never to be seen again. These dishes are but smoke. Dust in the culinary wind. Mere palimpsests of the stomach. 

But frankly, none of that matters when you find that Pidgin values quality just as much as the constant churn of novelty. This small, informal restaurant on Wilton Way – a Hackney backstreet that flirts with tweeness but thankfully never goes all the way – has provided a home to many talented young head chefs over the years.

Greg Clarke, Elizabeth Haigh, Drew Snaith and Adolfo De Cecco have all been behind the pass, and Pidgin even had a Michelin star era, which, if we’re honest, made it seem far stuffier than it is. If anything, Pidgin feels like a friendly front room and a true neighbourhood joint – but also the kind of place where casually dropping by for nine courses and a lavish wine pairing seems like the most natural thing in the world. And at £72 a head, it’s certainly one of the more reasonable tasting menus in town. 

These dishes are but smoke. Dust in the culinary wind. Mere palimpsests of the stomach. 

The latest chef to take the Pidgin by the horns is Naz Hassan, whose experience in the kitchens of Social Eating House, Crispin and BiBi, leaps off his never-to-be-repeated plates. On the night we dine, the food is impeccable. A pre-starter of goat cheese and caramelised onion sandwiched between the thinnest and crispiest of crackers is gooey perfection, while a panzotti of burnt aubergine and basil – aka one mega ravioli with a generous shaving of fresh truffle – is proof that pasta done right is never not impressive.

Hassan’s playfulness shone in a squidgy duck leg and bbq peach-stuffed brioche, which was followed by Duck 2:0; a soft slither of breast served with tart raspberry jam and the merest suggestion of a sweetcorn rib. 

It feels to mean to recount to you memories of a fluffy rum baba with squidgy cherries that came as one of four different desserts; you’ll never have it, and we won’t again either. Rest assured though, while any visit to Pidgin offers you a once in a lifetime meal, you’ll want to go back as often as possible. 

The vibe A cosy but classy neighbourhood restaurant.

The food An ever-changing tasting menu that’s got contemporary European roots, but could take you anywhere the chef fancies. 

The drink Classic-ish cocktails (oyster shell Martinis and kampot pepper Negronis) and a pairing for £54 that’s heavy on natural wines.

Time Out tip Score a window seat and enjoy the near constant parade of sad-eyed greyhounds being walked down Wilton Way.

Leonie Cooper
Written by
Leonie Cooper


52 Wilton Way
E8 1BG
Hackney Central Overground
Opening hours:
Wednesday - Friday 6pm - 11pm Saturday & Sunday 12.30pm - 11pm
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