I’m lucky I don’t suffer from hangovers because Pidgin has a VERY good drinks list, and James Ramsden is a dab hand at recommending a drink. Or five…
This Hackney restaurant is owned by two friends, James Ramsden (who is also a Great British Chefs contributor) and Sam Herlihy. Originally running a much lauded supper club, The Secret Larder, the duo brought it to a close near the end of 2014. Shortly afterwards they embarked on a podcast – The Kitchen is on Fire – and there was a weekly dose of James, Sam and a host of foodie guests to keep us entertained. Fast forward a few months and they announced they were opening a restaurant just round the corner from Hackney Central station – and as I never made it to The Secret Larder, I wanted to be one of the first in line to try Pidgin.
They’re not alone in this venture though. Elizabeth Allen, previously of Islington’s Smokehouse, is behind the stoves, and having eaten her delicious beef rendang dish at Too Many Chefs a few weeks before I had high expectations. The restaurant manager, Margot Tyson, also curates the small-yet-perfectly-formed wine list, which changes every week. In addition to wines there are some excellent cocktails – including a G & T using their homemade tonic water (available as a PT no G for non-drinkers). Along with the weekly changing wines and cocktails, the food also changes, with the four course set menu coming in at a wallet-friendly £35.
So, back to that drinks list. We started with a Brit Spritz (Kamm & Sons, elderflower and prosecco) and a Lime Ricker (mezcal, soju, mint, coriander, chilli, papaya, lime and roasted rice). They mix a mean drink at Pidgin, and we loved both – the Lime Ricker having a nostalgic Sugar Puffs aroma from the roasted rice on top.
It seems restaurants are really stepping up their bread game at the moment and Pidgin is no exception. Their potato sourdough has a soft, yet weighty texture and is served with a very well-made butter. With three slices between two, you’ll be fighting for the last piece – so don’t take your eye off it for a second.