We wrote about the idea behind Pickled Fred a while back (you’ve guessed it, pickles on everything!) but visited for the first time this week.
Situated a little off the well-trodden Brick Lane (on Hanbury Street, next to the gorgeous Libreria) all that distinguishes Picked Fred from its neighbours is Motown on the playlist and a cracking little bar, resulting in quite a retro but welcoming vibe. The boys behind the venture (Ben – ex Som Saa) and (Can – Berber & Q, Hawksmoor) could not be nicer!
They talk us through the menu which is split into snacks, small plates, and flatbreads and we’re advised to order a couple from the top two sections and share a flatbread. All of which (bare one with pork mince) come veggie as standard with the addition of Harissa Lamb, Massaman Chicken, Lemongrass poached prawns or that Chang Mai Pork Mince available to add on as an extra.
We felt it obligatory to start with Fred’s pickles (named after a monkey they came across on a trip to the Philippines who insisted on stealing their pickles). A small bowl of everything from carrot to cherry tomatoes, mushrooms to cauliflower arrived, all given a zingy pickle. Pork patties were very good, served with pickled peppered cucumber and nouc cham – a sweet and sour Vietnamese dipping sauce. The jackfruit scotch egg looked impressive but needed the masala mayonnaise to give it a kick.
Food is described as Asian-inspired but we saw more than a hint of middle eastern. Take for example the Octopus with harissa marinated chickpeas, black tahini and pickled red onions, or the flatbread themselves which feature halloumi, labneh and feta.
Whilst the menu still feels like it needs a little TLC, the cocktails are top notch. Where the peanut satay flatbread needed a squeeze of lime, the Smoking Goat made it SING. A perfectly balanced concoction of tequila, smoky mescal, pineapple, sweet basil and agave. Fred’s Preserver features impressive green & black peppercorn infused vodka with homemade preserved strawberry & rose petal wine with aperol. Every one we tried was both beautiful and delicious.
There’s only two desserts to choose from but you really only need one to share. The plate of fritters is HUGE – like a beautiful pyramid of profiteroles – fluffy, light, spiked with apple and sesame and served with dipping pots of salted caramel and vanilla cream. We defy you not to lick the plate clean.
If we’re in the area we’ll be sure to pop in for a cocktail or two and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for their daily happy hour.