The best Sunday roast in east London?
Stevie Eats Out: Madame Pigg
Lockdown 2.0 is just around the corner but when the next one arrives which it inevitably will, do you think we will still number them up? Or will we start giving them names like they do with tornados and hurricanes in the states? Will we be complaining about a Lockdown Leslie, or Lockdown Larry in 2021? Talking of dangerously twisted hot air, don’t you think this whole Trump thing is the true beginning of the end of the world? Is it too careless to suggestively predict that 2020 actually has been a real-life disaster film and we have all been unknowing participating extras?
Not that I paid much attention to the news before, but I do read the newspapers nearly every day. Normally I slowly go through the headlines reading most of the sub-text in the articles over breakfast. But this week I have just been lazily scanning the headlines. Today you will find me bending the spine of the paper, flicking through the pages like an old hymnbook. Enjoying the fanning of the passing breeze from each thumb swish. Insta-reading if you will. Taking in only 5% of the words because you’re already onto the next subject and taken in as much as you feel you needed from the past article. It’s full to the brim of sour news. Not the first thing you want to see whilst chomping on your coco pops.
One thing I did take notice of in the news was that we were on track to go into lockdown 2.0 for at least a month starting at some point mid-week next-week, or something-along-those-lines. It is hard to keep track. Thankfully I had just one dinner date in my diary before the latest tier system measures would kick in and before I’d be stuck with my parents watching the dog lick its own backside for the next thirty days. This diary date was particularly special because it was a close friends’ ‘business meeting’ when she turned 29 years old somewhere deep in east London, and quite literally the only event I had planned until the end of the year apart from Christmas and Boxing Day.
Under normal circumstances I would huff and moan at the thought of travelling beyond Notting Hill, let alone Shoreditch. Travelling to the ends of the central line from my home in West London, to then hop onto a random overland train to then walk, yes, walk to the final destination of a restaurant or bar. The whole process required gumption, patience and fitness. (To either spend 45 long minutes standing or be eagle-eyed enough to spot a good open seat to dart onto) I had none of these attributes but the intention was there.
This time round I wasn’t remotely hesitant. I was totally up for riding the underground bus, masked up to the nines, because I knew that this evening would be quite special.
Everything on their menu is vegan, gluten free, or both. There is a smug feeling as you are handed the menu and scan down the options. You can tell everything here is going to be a delight to eat. The sounds of the open kitchen clanging, sizzling and drumming into the room build authenticity and a priceless atmosphere. The restaurant has been gifted accolades such as the Evening Standards Favourite Restaurants of 2019. (Fay Maschler) and you can tell why.
Being a Sunday, we had the choice of roasts for our supper. Slightly disappointing as I had spent weeks perving over their posts on Instagram where I saw charred radicchio, with mint, pomegranate, capers and fresh honeycomb, a chicken pie with pecorino, truffle and leek and the Italian sausage ragu on sourdough and sage. All of which I spent a good few moments imagining exactly how they would taste with a drooling mouth and lapping tongue.
For the first round of cocktails, we were recommended the ‘F***ed up Ginger’ - made from gin, pale ale, ginger syrup and lemon which was a great party starter. Followed by a second round of Spicy Dick, made from tequila, grapefruit, chilli lime & sugar which was punchy and brought that delirium you want from a pallet cleanser and a conversation starting drink in the twilight of evening.
To start I ordered tiger prawns with aioli & sticky lemon. The rest of the table went for fresh oysters, and a winning choice of mussels in a bowl of hot green curry soup that tasted like a spicy warm hug.
With much deliberation, a toss-up between the local lamb, half a chicken, roast beef or a vegan nut roast I watched as each dish came out individually for different tables. Each looked as hearty, juicy and stacked up high as one another. I went green and it was a surprisingly delicious choice. It is a revelation that you don’t need meat to complete your Sunday roast session. In my well thought-out order I had a tower of tempura mushrooms, long stem carrots, fresh and crunchy broccoli topped off with a mammoth sized Yorkshire pudding. All carefully piled onto a buttery beetroot based nut roast. Generous helpings of gravy helped me hoover up my plate in minutes. I cleaned the plate with a satisfied belly pat knowing I was fulfilled beyond measure. It was my first ever vegan roast and I will return, especially if it is served by these guys.
Madame Pigg is a much-hailed neighbourhood restaurant that deserves all the praise it gets. An inspired kitchen team matched with brilliant ingredients and a light hearted work force creates a parade of passion that sings through every dish served. You always know you’ve found a gem when you are already looking forward to the next visit when you haven’t even left the room. Or planning your next menu choices when you’re halfway through the mains. I had that feeling the moment I had my first bite.
480 Kingsland Road, E8 4AE