Peg

Japanese, Modern European, Wine Bars·
££££
·
Bronze Award

SquareMeal Review of Peg

Bronze Award

This restaurant has worn many faces over the years. 120 Morning Lane was once the much-loved Railroad Cafe, before Magnus Reid’s popular Antipodean restaurant Legs made a name for itself here. For the last few years this charming corner plot has been home to Peg - perhaps the most unusual of the Noble Fine Liquor stable.

Peg launched as a no-bookings yakitori bar, but as of September 2021 switched lanes to become a tasting menu and bookings establishment. There’s a reminiscence of the old menu - the charcoal grill remains along with the Japanese inspiration, but this new format gives head chef Byron Fini licence to stretch his culinary wings a little.

The result is a twisting, turning, roller coaster that has some thrilling highs and intriguing flavour combinations, but might be slightly discombobulating to those who just want dinner and a glass of wine. Some dishes push deep into ultra-minimal territory; pork tonkatsu, apple mustard, pickles and cabbage is exactly that - a slice of crispy pork, a separate spoon of apple mustard, two small piles of pickles, and shredded raw cabbage in a separate bowl. The combinations work - particularly pork, mustard and pickled kohlrabi which is sensational - but it’s a style that leaves us feeling a little adrift. An optional cheese course is just that - a piece of cheese. It’s wonderful cheese and we understand the desire to respect the cheese, but we won’t be the only people lamenting the absence of a cracker.

The more complete dishes are Peg’s best. Chawanmushi (a Japanese egg custard) has a perfect set, a rich, cosy layer of lobster consomme over the top, and a spoon of caviar for good measure. It’s a delight, as are umami-bomb duck dumplings with spiky tomato XO sauce. The best comes last and combines Peg’s adventurous and comforting spirits - a pumpkin and white chocolate ice cream sandwich, with gooey caramel centre. 

It's a thrill ride for adventurous gastronauts, but if that doesn’t sound like you, perhaps try the more affordable lunch menu before plumping for the full dinner experience.

Image credit: Charlie McKay

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cuisines
Japanese, Modern European, Wine Bars
Ambience
Cool, Lively
Other Awards
SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Counter dining
People
Dates

About Peg

Trendy small-plates places are hardly a rare breed in London these days, but at the forefront of the movement is the team behind Peg – the sibling site to P. Franco, Noble Fine Liquor and Bright.

The thing tying all of the locations together is the people behind them who each possess a passion for finding the best produce. Plates are deliberately pared back to spotlight a few choice ingredients, and each one is perfectly formed for coupling with a good glass of wine. Peg exclusively serves a set menu now, which gives guests a taste of the kitchen’s prowess. Things kick off with a selection of snacks before moving on to four sequential savoury courses. Grilled asparagus with wild garlic and brown butter might be on the line-up come spring, while mains could include a dry aged beef dish with barley, miso and winter tomatoes.

Sweets are taken seriously, with two dessert courses often created to satisfy pudding fans. Think aged rice with mango and Bengali lime or an unusual combination of grapefruit and fennel.

For diners who aren’t a fan of prescriptive mealtimes, there’s an a la carte option on Saturday lunchtimes. Plates here start from £3 (for bread and butter) and go up to a maximum of £11, allowing you a fairly affordable way in. While dishes change with the seasons, mains might include Chalk Street trout belly with lemon kosho or grilled sprouting broccoli with barley miso.

An accomplished and far-reaching wine list provides options that range from £50 upwards, so while drinking here isn’t going to be a cheap hobby, you’re nearly guaranteed a try of some stellar sips.

Interiors are suitably trendy, with polished concrete elements and plenty of stripped back wood. The neutral dining room is lit with low-hanging pendants and guests will find their seats on bar stools and high white tables.


FAQs

Can you book Peg Hackney?

Yes, the restaurant takes reservations and in the evenings there is a set 4-5 course menu.

Helpful? 0

Are there vegan and vegetarian options at Peg Hackney?

Peg can't always cater to vegan or vegetarian diners because of the nature of the menu. When there is less fresh produce on offer during the winter, the kitchen uses more seafood and meat.

Helpful? 0

Who is the head chef at Peg in Hackney?

Australian chef Byron Fini heads up the team at Peg.

Helpful? 0

Location

120 Morning Lane, Hackney, London, E9 6LH

020 3441 8765

Website

Opening Times

Lunch
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri Closed
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun Closed
Dinner
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 18:00-23:00
Thu 18:00-23:00
Fri 18:00-23:00
Sat 18:00-23:00
Sun Closed

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