Magpie closed permanently in March 2019
This new bird from the team behind Pidgin in Hackney launched with a US-inspired concept as its USP: the idea was to bring an array of eclectic sharing plates to the table on trolleys and trays – a notion that met with a mixed response from punters (ourselves included). As a result, the trolleys have been parked and demoted to a supporting role in proceedings – namely the provision of ‘drinking snacks’ such as Viet-style rillettes when guests arrive. After that, everything comes as ordered from the kitchen – perhaps clams with saucisson and chilli crisp or burrata with herb oil, puntarelle and smoked almonds, alongside favourites such as smoked eel Caesar salad dressed with soy-cured Parmesan from Magpie’s earlier incarnation. There are also some bigger deals for sharing (beef short-rib with red cabbage and fried gnocchi, say), while puds include a cheeky ‘birthday cake’ with white chocolate crumble and ‘thousands of powders’. Overall, Magpie’s winning way with pilfering global ingredients certainly shows chutzpah and it deserves an extra cheer for its charming young staff and offer of a dozen wines on tap (including fino sherry).