Silver Award

SquareMeal Review of Pidgin

Silver Award

Once the young upstart in upwards-trending Hackney, Pidgin has aged from greenhorn to industry veteran over the course of eight years. Perhaps most impressive of all, the restaurant has stuck faithfully - or stubbornly, depending how you see it - to a philosophy of serving a weekly-changing tasting menu where no dish is ever repeated.

Naz Hassan is the new man in charge of Pidgin’s long-running streak, and he brings an eclectic, international vibe to the menu, which shimmies and weaves between global influences. Bangladesh-born Hassan grew up in Milan and has worked at the likes of BiBi and Crispin, so it’s perhaps no surprise that the menu is equally well-travelled.

Inside, Pidgin is a picture of wabi-sabi, earth-toned shabby-chic. The natural wood floors are pleasantly worn in a boarding school sort of way, and dishes arrive in magnificent bits of crockery that proudly wear signs of their use. A window seat is a lovely spot to enjoy one of the signature Kampot Negronis and watch the comings and goings of Wilton Way outside.

A light, crisp onion bhaji starts us off very nicely, before we swing straight into a bowl of tofu with century egg, and a trio of plump prawn wontons with prawn head bisque and chilli dressing. The twists and turns of the menu have the potential to be a little jarring, but if there’s one thing you can guarantee at Pidgin, it’s excitement. Among lots of good things, a pair of classic European rabbit dishes - a hefty croquette with lovage puree, and a braise with borlotti and nasturtium - are stand-outs.

Delicious though everything is, not everything has the precision you might expect - a final dessert of pear, matcha and verbena is a play on tea and biscuits, but it has a homespun feel that perhaps is the result of Pidgin’s overriding concept. Coming up with - let alone testing - a completely new menu every seven days is seriously challenging, and it seems inevitable that some ideas will hit the menu that aren’t quite fully formed. The sheer creativity is admirable, though, and those quirky idiosyncrasies make Pidgin all the more charming.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £50 - £79
Cool, Cosy, Fun, Lively
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating, Terrace
Special Features
Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Birthdays, Celebrations, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Pidgin is a restaurant in Hackney that serves a weekly-changing tasting menu, with dishes taking eclectic global influences. The restaurant is well-known as one of East London's earlier fine dining restaurants and it once held a Michelin star.

A number of well-known chefs have started their careers at Pidgin before going on to do well with their own restaurants. Elizabeth Haigh won a Michelin star whilst head chef of Pidgin, before going on to create Mei Mei in Borough Market, and the likes of Drew Snaith and Adolfo De Cecco have also held the position. 

The restaurant itself sits in a relatively small space on Wilton Way - a Hackney backstreet close to Hackney Downs and Hackney Central stations. The atmosphere is cosy and intimate, with drinks made at a bar area in the restaurant and dishes coming out of the adjoining kitchen area. Pale blues and greys give the interiors a calm, serene vibe, whilst a well-stocked wine shelf runs all the way around the restaurant's upper wall, lending to Pidgin's neighbourhood restaurant atmosphere.

Pidgin is famously built on a philosophy of never repeating a dish twice across a tasting menu that changes every week. To date, the restaurant has never served the same dish twice, and has served well over 1000 unique dishes to date. As a result, guests know that every visit guarantees entirely new dishes on the menu, and dishes take on myriad international influences. The menu at the time of writing includes monkfish with parsnip and grape, a grouse shami kebab, an onion bhaji, and potato with dulse and creme fraiche.

The restaurant also serves wines by the glass and bottle, a wine flight to accompany the tasting menu, and a compact cocktail menu that includes an Oyster Shell Martini (gin, oyster shell, miso), Toasted Rice Martini (vodka, toasted rice, pickle) and a Kampot Negroni (gin, Antica Formula, Campari, kampot pepper).  


Does the restaurant cater for dietaries?

The restaurant can cater for most dietary requirements with enough prior notice.

Helpful? 0

Is there a dress code?

There's is no dress code for the restaurant.

Helpful? 0

Do I need to book?

Booking is advised as the restaurant is small.

Helpful? 0


52 Wilton Way, Hackney, London, E8 1BG

020 7254 8311 020 7254 8311


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed 18:00-23:00
Thu 18:00-23:00
Fri 18:00-23:00
Sat Closed
Sun Closed
All day
Mon Closed
Tue Closed
Wed Closed
Thu Closed
Fri Closed
Sat 12:30-23:00
Sun 12:30-23:00


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10 Reviews 


16 October 2023   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Alberto L

04 August 2023   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Anisha S

28 June 2019  
Very innovative food and drink at amazing value.

Kelly S

28 June 2019  
Amazing food!!


27 June 2018  
Fantastic tasting menu in Hackney. One admires the food as one does a great painting but with the energy as if experienced within in the artists studio itself would be one way to describe it.

Liane T

27 June 2018  
I love that the menu is ever changing and going with what is available during the season. Gone several times and never had a bad meal.

Tim C

21 March 2018  
Amazing food everything and grear atmosphere.

Andrew C

04 May 2017  
All brilliant.

M Stead

27 February 2017  
Food & Drink 5
Service 4.5
Atmosphere 5
Value 4.5
Homing Pidgin
The ever changing weekly menu is the main attraction at Pidgin. The menu and the small, cosy atmosphere. The two main attractions to Pidgin are the menu, the small, cosy atmosphere and the excellent staff. Amongst the attractions to Pidgin are... I'll start again... I've been meaning to come here for almost a year now, but being an SW man it's a bit of a commute to Hackney. Luckily I work up at Old Street now so it's just a short hop across to this tiny venue no bigger than a living room. And that's the first thing you notice when you walk in. It's like a living room. People chatting, friends laughing, it has that relaxed feel that is often missing from places of this calibre. I don't like eating in libraries. The menu changes weekly, and we were lucky to get the famous chicken with beer sauce as the chief course. Dining with me was a Michelin Virgin, so this was a pretty perfect introduction, somewhere were the food is the focus, not what the dress code is, or how you're not meant to laugh too loudly. And what food it is, I expected great things and it was exactly what I'd hoped. Every course was something new and exciting both in terms of combinations of flavours and flavours themselves. Black pudding with muscles and sea vegetables. Kohl Rabi with rice paper, chili bean paste and black vinegar. And the stand out course for me, chicken, Beer, pickled, pommes dauphines, rye bread sauce, greens. Finished off with Apple, truffle and peanut butter, with just the sweetest hint of honey. And that's the beauty of this place. It's fantastic food in a relaxed vibey place where the staff are more than prepared to have a chat with you and share a joke. Will I be back? Of course, I just won't like the hour taxi ride home at the end, though after all that food a snooze is probably what you need...

Katrina S

13 May 2016  
Great set menu, delicious flavours, small restaurant only 24 covers but worth going to.
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020 7254 8311 020 7254 8311

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