Big Night

Fermentation at its finest at Big Night London

A very, very good reason to head over to Hackney

I’d been intrigued about Big Night, ever since I saw the rave review from Joanna Taylor in The Evening Standard. I’m also pretty obsessed with pickles, and pickling is a big theme here.

Taking inspiration from the Stanley Tucci movie ‘Big Night’, the venue encourages guests to bond over shots, sauerkraut and conversation. Revolving around small plates and big flavours, Big Night’s mission is to offer good food and a good time.

The cuisine concept is inspired by the lively spirit of Japanese yakitori izakayas (‘stay-drink-place’), and the space redefines the dining experience, serving up fun dishes with a cheeky selection of shots, pickles and skewer dishes.

The interiors are relaxed and cool. A vintage (or maybe just old at this point) TV plays old VCR movies on a loop, a homage to the days of our youth. Play your cards right and you can even pick the next movie.

Fermentation isn’t only in the food but plays into the drinks and cocktails too which is fun and innovative. Starters are pickles accompanied with a shot. We tried both the Kraut + Vodka and Ferment Branca, both put hairs on your chest and got us hot in anticipation for the small plate dishes.

We enjoyed a full range of skewers including Chicken with spring onion, Pork with XO and sorrell, Mutton with rhubarb and Swede with green chilli and wild garlic. Each delectable morsel of well charred food was divine, I simply cannot pick my favourite. Okay, gun to the head, it would probably be the mutton. That punchy rhubarb taste was just too good.

A range of fun sides are available, and I highly recommend ordering the Tomatoes with chilli oil, spicy and nice, the Big Night Noodles (my favourite) which are insanely morish and the Tasty Bread – yep, that’s what the dish is called. I won’t spoil it by telling you what it is; you’ll just have to try it yourself.

There are only two dessert options, and you simply must order both. The Miso Banoffee served in a banana is to die for and the Crème Tea Carame is a fully sensual experience. Feel free to wiggle the latter for the ‘Gram’, it makes an excellent Instagram post backed with Jason De Rulo’s song ‘Wiggle’. Hopefully that image is clear.

A visit would not be complete without a Cheeky Negroni. They are always concocting new and exciting flavours, in fact the whole team were in the kitchen trying new shots and mixes at one point. The menus change seasonally too, so it’s the sort of restaurant you can visit again and again. Visiting on a Friday was buzzy and fun, and boasted a very cool East London crowd – you know the type.

A huge well done to Founders and friends, Jack O’Connor and Joshua Ralphs, who have managed the impossible. An exciting and original concept with unbeatable flavours. I can’t wait to go back!

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