So, we ventured east again, this time to Hackney to try another recently opened modern British place, Pidgin. Pidgin is the evolution of a supper club, The Secret Larder evolved into a full-fledged restaurant, with a professional chef, Elizabeth Allen, formerly of the Smokehouse Islington running the kitchen.
Here, the supper club fixed menu format has been retained with a dictation of a no-choice 4 courses set – which has the benefit of removing trivial issues such as neighbour envy and postulation quandaries. Although, this might not necessarily be your cup of tea if you think that restaurant eating is supposed to allow an element of choice. After all, you are paying them…
The bread was a crusty sourdough served with butter that had been coated with a brown powder – wasn’t quite sure what this was (it tasted slightly nutty) but it was pretty good. Attention had definitely been paid to the bread and butter – we hoped that this was a good sign…
Salt cod brandade, squid ink, black garlic, charred pickled chillies. More an amuse bouche, this was small chunks of salt cod served with some pieces of crispbread that had the squid ink incorporated in. Eaten together, it tasted a bit like eating a slightly spicy crispy fish sandwich.
Lamb sweetbreads, marsala, carrots, almonds. The sweetbreads, carrots and almonds were all individually well done. However, the marsala sauce didn’t really sit well with the combination or add much to enhance the other individual components.
Smoked confit duck, pickled potato, peas and lettuce. This was pretty chunky piece of meat – and unfortunately slightly dry in the centre. So, probably handy to have all the sauce that came with the peas and lettuce.
Chevre ice cream, grapes, fermented honey cake, black pepper shard. This was arguably the best dish of the evening – the combination of the goat’s cheese ice cream worked very well with the fermented honey cake and the slight peppery taste from the ‘shard’. The one down note on this dish was the grapes – which possibly didn’t add that much to the dish and had seeds in them…
There was a chocolate truffle and complimentary house limoncello to follow at the end, which was a nice touch to finish off the meal.
Overall, the meal was enjoyable with good quality ingredients and skilled cooking in the kitchen. Service was friendly and cheerful, making the experience an enjoyable one.
However, the combination of items making up each of the individual dishes could still do with some work though as it wasn’t completely clear what effect was trying to be achieved – definitely, a case could be made for slightly less complexity here! It’s still early days and with their weekly changing menu, hopefully there will be continuous refinement. This would definitely be something to look forward to if achieved.
A quiet eating 6/10.
Lunch (4 courses) was GBP35 excluding service and drinks.
52 Wilton Way
London E8 1BG