Pickled Fred Restaurant Review, Shoreditch
Fermentations. Its a bit of weird word isn’t it? I’ve never really gone out to a meal and thought ‘hmm yes, tonight I fancy a fermentation or two’. But really, its one of my favourite things. The Kimchi to my Bulgogi, the Sauerkraut to my sandwich. So dinner at Pickled Fred, king of the fermented food, is really right up my street.
We get to Shoreditch early, and take a walk around Brick Lane, before heading to Pickled Fred for dinner.
The restaurant is deep and narrow, lit with candles and filled with the smell of good cooking.
If you looked at the number of people in here tonight, you might think that Pickled Fred has been open a while. Groups of friends, clearly people who love and come to Shoreditch often, are already sat in networks at the bar. There’s a friendliness and a careful shabbiness that invites laughter and good times.
And so to dinner…
Having said all of that however, the menu is a bit of a… mess. It visits large parts of Asia, and even nods to the Middle East. Suffice to say, there are a lot of different things to choose from that don’t at first seem like they go together.
Grappling with exactly what to order, in the end we settle on a small selection and hope that they are as genial as the restaurant itself.
For the most part, we are not disappointed. To start with we try a Som Tam, originating in Thailand and served successfully here at Pickled Fred.
We love the crunchiness of the shredded kohlrabi in the Som Tam, served with peanuts, pickled shallots, cucumber, and fresh herbs. It is an energetic start to a great meal.
Moving on we taste a length of mackerel, basted in a dry red curry and served with pickled golden beetroot and preserved limes. The oiliness of the fish really marries all of the elements together, and we love how fiercely the pickling process is used.
After the mackerel, we make a pit stop at Malaysia with a rich and redolent Beef Rendang, and a side of sticky rice…
Then we move to the Middle East, and try the chermoula aubergine flatbread, jewelled with harissa and sumac lamb shoulder. Rather wonderfully, this ends up being an effortless follow up to the previous dishes. Yum.
A divisive dessert or two later…
So we’re told that the coconut milk and turmeric panna cotta has not been to everyones taste, and it does indeed divide our little table. I love it – the graininess that puts other people off is the sort of textural element that I’m really drawn to.
My dining partner finds his happy place in a bowl of apple and sesame fritters, which are always going to be a crowd pleaser.
All in all it’s been a meandering and explorative meal at Pickled Fred. We’ve loved where each dish has taken us, and the use of sharpness, heat and citrus through pickled and fermented ingredients.
This is accomplished, clever cooking, that couldn’t be better suited to the streets of Shoreditch.
And, we can’t wait to head back and try them out again!
Are you a fan of mixed menus and global cooking? Would you be tempted to try out a restaurant like Pickled Fred? We’d love to get a conversation going, so feel free to talk to us here or on Instagram :)
Thanks to Pickled Fred for having us in. The meal was complimentary, but all views are our own and as ever we aim to provide useful and honest feedback.