On a depressing Saturday afternoon in Hackney, with a high-quality piercing rain materializing from the grey heavens, Peg is a burst of joy, all of the extra so for being barely surprising. The idea, a Japanese-grill-cum-neighbourhood wine bar, may simply seem to be an affectation, a thought in aid of itself, in a small unwelcoming room.
However, the individuals behind Peg are additionally liable for P Franco, a wine store with small plates in Clapton, and Bright, one other Hackney restaurant, which collectively comprises an interesting Hackney micro-empire. They know what they’re doing, and breathe life into an area that would simply have been cold.
Fortunately, some cabbage arrives. It sounds unusual to say this was essentially the most pleasant dish of the lot; nevertheless, it was up there. Pale green leaves, almost white, got here reduce and torn in an upright pot, as recent and crunchy as if our waitress had popped out again and dug them up herself.
The leaves had been coated in a sesame dressing with sufficient nuttiness and chunk so as to add to the cabbage without dominating it. Mushrooms had been a bit slippery; a meatball was giant and wealthy and mysterious in the best way all good meatballs should be.
The hen thighs are much less hectic, 3 of them on a pair of sticks, topped with blobs of fermented jalapeno and lime that round out the flavor of the meat, which was caramelized simply-so from the grill.
There may be some pumpkin with miso, a quiet hit of seasonality and easy embellishment, extra proof that regardless of Peg’s claims on being a meat grill, they’re deft palms with the veg. It’s reassuring they’re not an afterthought.
Regardless of its Japanese influences, that is easy, unfussy stuff, supposed to go together with drinks quite than be the star attraction by itself. However, booze-meals would not get way more satisfying.