Last week, Mark and I went out for a lovely meal to celebrate some recent work achievements. I asked around some of my foodie friends for recommendations, and we decided on Pidgin in Hackney, whose creative, ever-changing weekly menu celebrates the best of the season. Right up our street!
To get there after work, I took a walk through London Fields and down through the neighbouring residential streets. Wilton Way itself is a lovely little haven of Hackney – as I turned on to the street the Japanese owner of the nearby Momosan Shop was outside chatting away with locals. Mark and I met at the restaurant and were shown to our table in a cosy corner.
Needless to say, ordering was a breeze as they only serve that week’s menu. We opted for the beverage pairing too so we didn’t even need to choose drinks. To kick off, we were brought our pre-starter of pork jowl with spiced seeds. Deliciously soft meat with a good kick from the seeds that got our tastebuds good and ready to go.
While we waited for our starter, we were brought the first of our wines, a silky Green Ibi, Tokubetsu Junmai sake from the Sugihara Brewery in Japan’s Gifu prefecture. It was so light, yet so smooth and complex – I was transported a million miles away and I didn’t want to come back! Our starter was crab with buttermilk and dill broth, fresh cucumber and tempura borage leaf. Coupled with the beautiful sake, it was a fresh, elegant dish that was worth taking a bit of time to savour.
Our next course, the Parisian gnocchi, was the showstopper for me. Soft, pillowy gnocchi with broad beans, nori dust and a rich chicken liver jus. The umami, comforting flavours melded so perfectly into a sophisticatedly satisfying dish.
Our main was tender beef rib served with crispy potato “noodles”, watercress hollandaise, spicy pak choi and shallot.
We were surprised with a lovely little pre-dessert of crème fraîche panna cotta with fermented strawberries and kaffir lime. It was zingy and effervescent, and the perfect palate cleanser ahead of our dessert of banana crème caramel, cardamom ice cream and a burnt honey biscuit.
As if we hadn’t had enough wonderful surprises with our pre-starter and pre-dessert, we were presented with some petit fours to finish. The standout for me was the cucumber and kiwi sweet, a combination that worked so well at the end of a meal.
I love menus like this where all stops have been pulled out to ensure every single ingredient has a purpose, and where such ingenuity has gone into the tiny details. I’ve now signed up to their weekly menu updates here to see what they’re working with a how they’re playing with new flavours. Their Instagram feed is unsurprisingly stunning too. It goes without saying that Pidgin gets my heartfelt recommendation – go and book a table, go, go now, GO!
You can book on the Pidgin website here: http://www.pidginlondon.com/reservations-1/