The team behind award-winning Clapton cave P. Franco and London Fields restaurant Bright previewed a third London opening last night, 11 February. Peg, which opens on the old site of Magnus Reid’s Legs on Morning Lane in Hackney, debuted a yakitori-inspired grill menu, small dishes with the Japanese leanings familiar to diners at P. Franco under William Gleave, George Tomlin, and Tim Spedding, and two one-off winemaker showcases from Italy and Australia respectively. Having an actual kitchen, Peg is more closely connected to Bright than P. Franco, but shares its attitude most recognisably with the latter — two menu boards, the new grills to one side and more familiar small dishes on the other, embody the way that Peg is an iteration on something good, rather than a wholesale departure.
Chicken thighs, hearts, and wings from Fosse Meadows, grilled on skewers, came with high-acid, intensely-flavoured seasonings: shichimi togarashi on the wings; yuzu kosho on the thighs. A smoked mackerel and turnip broth, salty with nori, and snappy pickles rounded out a curtailed menu that also included fried chicken and fried tofu ‘chicken.’ No quote marks on the menu, though. Head chef Byron Fini, supported by executive chef William Gleave, intends to put produce and producers front and centre: those chickens; Flourish Produce; Namayasai farm, used by Koya, Brat, The Clove Club, and Bright; Kernow Sashimi for fish. Those skewers and broths will be staples of the menu: an opportunity to use all parts of the animals and fish butchered. It’s not the izakaya originally rumoured, but the influences are certainly there.
The menu and wine list were curtailed, but expect the same style of service as P. Franco and Bright: a focus on what’s open and linking wines to taste, with a more formal bottle service approach available for those who want it. Beer, too. The new space, meanwhile, features tabletops made from recycled yoghurt pots — as with Doug McMaster and Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Cub on Hoxton Street — with a grill kitchen set back from the entrance. It’s a considerable refresh of the Legs space, but not for the P. Franco and Bright formula: affable hospitality meets low-key excellence.
Peg will open Wednesday — Sunday, with lunch service running Thursday — Sunday. Official opening date is 20 February. Check back for a full look inside and menu soon.