Pidgin

Restaurants, Contemporary European Hackney
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
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Pidgin is a modern British restaurant in Hackney, serving a weekly-changing, no-choice four-course menu.

Supper clubs are great. Hosted by the type of people who understand that there’s more to dining out than just food (if there wasn’t, we’d all be at home eating takeaway), they blazed a trail for laid-back dining and short, no-choice menus. No choice equals no stress. No pretending to listen to your not-seen-each-other-in-ages friend’s stories while actually doing game theory on the piece of paper in front of you. It’s like being at a great dinner party, the sort where you trust the host’s cooking, drink shots and don’t talk about house prices. 

Pidgin shares this philosophy. The first foray into ‘proper restaurant-hood’ from James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy, creators of the acclaimed supper club Secret Larder, it translates the best of these qualities – stress-free menu, vibrant atmosphere – into a cute space, with copper-trimmed tables, walls bearing twigs gathered in the New Forest, and a seascape-papered loo complete with the sound of crashing thunder. 

As you’d hope, it’s wonderfully convivial. Our table-neighbours spontaneously chatted to us; a gaggle of mates took grelfies in the corner. James – who had called to confirm our reservation and check dietary concerns – bustled around, oiling the wheels. 

They’ve hired a real pro to run the kitchen: Elizabeth Allen, formerly of Islington’s excellent Smokehouse. And the food is terrific. Our meal – it changes weekly – took in charred baby gem lettuce with shards of crispy chicken skin, grated pecorino and a dusting of dehydrated chicken skin ‘powder’; succulent goat, braised in its own milk, with pink-middled medallions and scorched podded peas; and a tremendous warm doughnut with a jammy pickled-cherry centre, toasted hazelnuts and scoop of delicate Kahlúa-infused ‘White Russian’ ice cream. All bookended by bread and ‘burnt’ butter, a crab and crackling snack, gooey chocolate truffles and a glass of ‘Pidgincello’ (think limoncello meets Benedictine), because nothing says good times like a cheeky end-of-the-evening shot of herbal liqueur. Dinner parties are dead. Long live the supper-club restaurant. 

By: Tania Ballantine

Posted:

Venue name: Pidgin
Contact:
Address: 52 Wilton Way
London
E8 1BG
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 6-10pm; Sat noon-2pm, 6-10pm; Sun noon-2pm, 6-9pm.
Transport: Hackney Central Overground
Price: Meal for two with drinks and service: around £100.
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Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:5
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|6
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KingsofMediaDiningClub
1 of 1 found helpful

Excellent dishes, quality wines and impeccable cooking!!! Pidgin's arrival couldn't be anymore well timed and by that I mean for the location and for the concept. I’ve been a bunch of times and it seems the locals have been craving more restauranteurs to open up shop. This year we're finally seeing welcomed additions to the area like Som saa and Patty n Bun, but Pidgin takes things to a whole new level by introducing casual fine dining and a weekly changing menu to keep things interesting. Star dishes like beef picanha and koji pickled carrots with coal roasted beetroot, or smoked pork collar with clams and dancing katsuobishi with watermelon, just keep on coming, and even elevating simpler ingredients like the humble cauliflower (BBQ’d and served with dukkah & puree), have been really surprising and lovely. Very well done Pidgin London. Keep up the good work :-)

bext45
Tastemaker

A really beautiful dining experience in a small and intimate restaurant. The detail is delightful from the weighty menus to the storm themed bathroom where I could happily have spent five minutes enjoying the surrounds. There is no choice on the menu - this can lead to either a stressful or stress free dining experience. What if I don't like something? That was never the case. Every course shone and the ones where there was a bit of trepidation were the biggest successes (note to reader: I am not a fussy or non adventurous eater but the sound of some courses didn't light my fire. In fact they actually did). The evening ends with their own take on limoncello. Perfect to share amongst friends. You'd pay more for this meal in a more central location - this is such value for money. And, if you're lucky like us, you may get to sit next to an Oscar winning Hollywood star... 

Hong-Anh
Tastemaker

Following Marina O'Loughlin's rave review of Pidgin last week in The Guardian, I expect that getting a spot at Pidgin might be a little trickier than it may have been six days ago. What you need to know is that having the choice of your dinner taken out of your hands is a blessing when the person taking the choice away from you is a chef as talented as Elizabeth Allen. The dishes sound understated on paper, the descriptions are rather utilitarian and sparse and don't hint at the tremendous depth of flavour and complexity of combinations that are at play in her dishes. The standout elements for my visit this week were a golden and crispy deep-fried ravioli, filled with sage-rich sausage and perched atop a mound of buttery pumpkin puree; and a meltingly rich, rib-sticking pot of confit duck cassoulet which accompanied the duck breast that sang on the palette once combined with the pickled elderberries. This is the kind of cooking that you would easily pay double for were it in a more upmarket, traditional fine dining restaurant. Happily for your wallet, and for an altogether more pleasant and casual dining experience, Pidgin remains a steal and a hidden gem, make your way there before this changes!

Lilli
Tastemaker

I had dinner at Pidgin for the first time last Friday. It was my sister's birthday and it was just the right place to have dinner with a small party in a relaxed atmosphere. We arrived early so waited at the tiny bar for a few minutes with a delicious cocktail. Once seated, none of the courses disappointed. Every one of them had an unexpected twist to them. I loved that all ingredients were seasonal and very fresh. I will definitely be coming back soon and often! 


ELI
Staff Writer

Can't rave enough about this place. It was so refreshing to have such amazing food in a non-pretentious environment. All four courses were stand out, Liz is a star chef. I have to say I'd go back just for the burnt butter that comes with the bread! It's exciting to have a local like this change it's menu each week, we'll be frequent diners for sure :)