Pickled Fred, Shoreditch: Ferments bring alive quirky Asian menu
- Credit: Pickled Fred
Emma Bartholomew eats at Pickled Fred, which reflects its founders’ passion for travel, Asian food and unusual cocktails
Ben Lusty and Can Turker only came up with the concept for Pickled Fred after finding the coveted space in Shoreditch they had spent the past four years searching for.
The pair had been managing bars and front of house in trendy spots like Hawksmoor, Berber and Q and 100 Hoxton, and after meeting in Zilouf five years ago they realised they shared a vision to open their own place.
After securing the building in Hanbury Street they took inspiration for the name from their travels across Asia, where they had encountered a cheeky monkey called Fred in the Philippines who kept stealing pickles from their table. There’s a wooden statue in tribute to him on the bar.
Chef Dan Borham completed the missing part of the puzzle and came up with Pickled Fred’s quirky menu, where big tastes come in small packages with an array of snacks, small plates and flatbreads.
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Home made pickles and ferments are used to bring alive both its pan-Asian inspired food and unusual cocktails - like the preserved strawberry and rose petal wine which combines with a peppercorn-infused vodka.
The mishmash of curious preserves are there for all to see, lining the shelves of the restaurant.
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Many of the reasonably priced dishes are gluten-free or vegan - not that you’d always realise.
A remarkable “Scotch egg” (£5) is made out of jackfruit that’s been fried and boiled to take on the texture of pulled pork, and you can barely tell it’s not meat.
Smoky roasted cauliflower (£8) gets texture from pomegranate and pine nuts, and its creaminess is all down to tahini.
A beef shin and bone marrow rendang curry (£9) is amazingly tender with a hint of coconut.
Flatbreads and chickpea pancakes come topped with chermoula marinaded aubergine with options to add lamb, beef and lemongrass poached prawns.
A friend taught Ben and Can carpentry and I’m impressed they spent a month kitting the place out themselves with plenty of natural wood.
Exotic plants, a burnt-wood bar, green velvet fabrics and warm lighting give it a comforting but cool vibe.