The owners of P Franco and Bright — London’s foremost natural wine bar and one of the east end’s more progressive restaurant openings this year, respectively — have told Eater they will open a third site, on what was Magnus Reid’s Legs on Morning Lane in Hackney, in February next year.
General manager and co-owner at Bright, Phil Bracey said in an email last night. “We’ve signed the lease on the former Legs site (120-122 Morning Lane, E9 6LH).” The new place will be called Peg — named after a Steely Dan song — and will be run by the same team as that behind Bright. (The ownership of P. Franco, and the parent wine business Noble Fine Liquor, has a slightly different ownership.)
The details, Bracey said, are still “relatively loose and yet to be finalised,” but “what is clear is that it will be more casual than Bright, probably more similar to P. Franco.”
What that means is: All bar seats, no reservations, and “the wines that we love and believe in at its core, a focus on keeping prices down, small team, simple food, and a record player.”
Although Bright head chef — and the cook who transformed P. Franco from a charcuterie-and-cheese-serving-wine shop to one of the most interesting places to eat in London — William Gleave will adopt an executive chef role, the day-to-day will be overseen by head chef Byron Fini.
“Byron, another Australian... has been at Bright from the beginning coming to us from Brawn and before that a stint at Burnt Ends Singapore,” Bracey said.
“Central to Peg is the ingredients where by we’ll be aiming to use some of the best produce and have it cooked simply, in many cases of the grill on skewers,” he added. In a way, the bar is loosely inspired by Thai street food (mu ping) and Japanese izakayas, which serve yakitori as drinking food. In Bracey’s words: “any cuisine that has this simplicity as a central component.” Bracey also confirmed that he will be in place at Peg initially to oversee the space, while sorting the wine list and drinks program.
Rumours had recently circulated that the team were opening an izakaya. They’re not, but Bracey conceded that it “definitely has somewhat of that vibe and the idea came to us, like Bright for that matter, came from our short trip to Japan [last Christmas.]” He said that the team remained “cautious of being held to a cuisine style as there are so many differences and it would be silly to lump our ambitions into a Japanese box.”
The current plan is to open early February. “We’re changing the layout ever so slightly with all bar seats and [Bright’s builder] working on it as we speak.” An official open date will be forthcoming. “We’re obviously happy in the Clapton, Homerton, Hackney area,” Bracey said. “[We] feel that the area itself has been very kind to us and we’re keen to keep working and building in the area and become even more part of the fabric of the community.”
A final point on the name. “Initially and foremost its from the song of the same name by Steely Dan, which was a song again that seemed to follow us everywhere we went in Japan — in each wine bar and subsequent karaoke bar,” Bracey said. “Then there’s the tongue in cheek reference to the idea of what happens when you lose a leg (Legs) and its replaced with a peg — it’s essentially an homage to the previous restaurant. Finally Will’s grandma is Peggy. It was all too good for us not to use the name.”