Sibling to London Fields’ Rawduck and Soho’s Ducksoup, this little neighbourhood cafe/restaurant and wine bar’s major draw are its seasonal ferments paired with its simple, seasonal food. The Picklery makes all of their seasonal ferments, pickles and drinks in-house, which you can buy jarred or loose by weight. The Picklery also hosts fermentation and kombucha workshops as well as guest chef evenings. The giant marble kitchen counter acts as a centerpiece to the space, where you can sit, eat and observe all sorts, including the latest pickling and fermentation projects.
The weekly menu, displayed on a blackboard, celebrates the seasons of the Mediterranean and its gorgeous vegetables are a big focal point, making it a menu easy to navigate for vegetarians. Simple bistro-esque plates feature flavourful ingredients served with natural wine, which for us, is a winning formula. On the night of our visit, menu highlights included the Iberico tomatoes served with olives and sourdough croutons and a dish of butter beans braised with winter greens, both vegan. Another highlight was a tweaked Italian classic, spinach malfatti served with walnuts and parmesan, which was light and delicious, making it a great fully vegetarian option. The portion size was on the small side and we definitely could have polished off more. What we enjoyed the least, was the pickles themselves. We like our pickles salty, sour, vinegary and with a crunch, while The Picklery’s were all a bit too sweet for our taste and didn’t deliver the tangy kick we’d expected. We also were excited to try the kimchi, but it is sadly not vegetarian, which with traditionally made recipes, isn’t uncommon.
Little Duck has benefitted from the brand image and ethos of Rawduck and Ducksoup and the concept of simple, yet exquisite ingredients cooked well, but we weren’t sold on the pickles that we had, which is a shame as it is the restaurant’s defining feature. We hope to be convinced by these on a second visit.
A good neighbourhood option for an intimate, cosy dinner with your friends. Perhaps not worth the travel if you’re miles from Hackney, and if it’s not the pickles you’re after it may be closer to try either their Soho or London Fields restaurants.