Pinchy's Pop-Up BBQ and Spritz Bar
My review of Pinchy's BBQ and Spritz Bar is here to welcome the start of London’s summer. Brits quickly discovered the winning combination of sunny rays, chilled alcohol and grilled meats – but it seems that most of London's BBQ cuisine is located at festivals or street food events where food is served at stalls that are often squashed amongst hundreds of other vendors and sweaty customers. I've never really thought about it but I think it's definitely something that puts me off eating BBQ food in London. I always end up spoiling the food whilst I anxiously search for a spare inch where my bum can join a bench or wall corner or I end up standing to eat and have people bash into me. Eating BBQ food in a pub garden means that there's none of this inconvenience and you get the relaxed, uncrowded atmosphere that makes it much more enjoyable.
Three young entrepreneurs in East London have decided to serve fresh, grilled seafood and Aperol Spritz cocktails in the Hector & Noble pub garden in Hackney. George, Lex and Jane set up Pinchy’s after the success of their other three projects all inspired by excellent coffee, good food and the thriving Arts community that's been long-lasting in the London borough of Hackney. Most recognisable to Londoners will likely be their Hackney Bureau, a coffee shop and gallery on Mare Street and the trio also manage The Advisory cafe as well as the Hector & Noble pub where George and Lex live above (very handy!)
The menu at Pinchy's is concise and wonderfully 'faff' free. It focuses on a small number of fresh ingredients that are prepared and cooked right in front of you - even from the live lobsters on display to when they're cooked on the bbq. The preparation and cooking time is not long and you can order a signature cocktail whilst you wait and the sun sets. The meats on offer are crab, oysters, lobster, scallops or the fish of the day and each meat takes center stage served on a platter with tropical salads and couscous so everyone can tuck in. If you like the sound of all them, you might want to try the Pinchy Platter with scallops, lobster slaw, tiger prawns, homemade bread and salad mix for 2 people at £16. The food was fantastic and the pleasure of it comes from how fresh it is and the emphasis on natural flavours. The photographs really speak for themselves - just look at how colourful the food is for a start.
Jane explained that during her time at University, she worked in over 20 restaurants and has a lot of hospitality experience. At Pinchy's, she takes on the role of cocktail mixologist, host, waitress, and does it all so seamlessly and in such a friendly and down to earth manner. You almost feel like you're hanging out in a friend's back yard. Jane, Lex and I ended up chatting for hours and I really felt at home.
The team of three have worked very hard to build their pop-up from the ground up (quite literally) and are doing all the work themselves; from the organising, planning and the serving too. It felt like a breath of fresh air; I can't remember the last time a waitress in London introduced himself to me as the owner or even the Manager.
I'd strongly recommend bringing a group of four to Pinchy's as the pub garden is really more of the size of a house garden. This is not disadvantageous in any way though as they still have enough room for a kitchen, a bar and grill as well as around four or five large benches. The homely atmosphere of this BBQ and Spritz Bar really added to the relaxed and welcoming feel of the place which a lot of establishments in London are missing.
A last note - I'd really like to see more of these homely 'pop-ups' in London. A 'pop-up' cafe or restaurant that's served in another restaurant or in rented warehouse space does not in my opinion, have the same effect as pop-up food that's eaten in a pretty and welcoming garden. The importance of environment and atmosphere comes up again and again in conversation with other guests who still feel these aspects are lost to the hype of the food or concept. I'd love to try BBQ food in someone's back-yard or Afternoon Tea and cakes on a stranger's lawn as a true 'pop-up' compared to the almost clinical feel that spoils dining in some of London's restaurants. Pinchy's have hit the nail on the head here with the food, the setting, the service and the atmosphere. In the future, I'd love to try their famous 'Pub Sushi' and 'Sexy Fried Chicken some time too!
Pinchy's BBQ & Spritz Bar is open every Fri, Sat & Sun until 10th September 2016
Average dish is around £10 each
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