Looking for restaurants in Hackney? Read our review of Japanese grill Fat Baby, and check out more suggestions for eating in Hackney here.
Fat Baby in a nutshell: A casual Japanese restaurant serving izakaya-style bar snacks and dishes from the grill in a lively bar setting.
What’s the vibe?
Fat Baby is the main restaurant at Hackney party spot Night Tales, where hip Londoners congregate for drinks, street food and live music. There’s an indoor/outdoor vibe with gravel, moon lanterns and plenty of plants to pretty up the corrugated iron walls.
What’s the food like at Fat Baby?
The short menu offers a handful of bar snacks, a few larger plates from the charcoal grill and vegetable side dishes. Minced pork shoulder (from rare-breed pigs from Forest Coalpit Farm in Wales) is soft and peppery, and coated in a light batter then sandwiched between slices of squidgy white bread along with tangy tonkatsu sauce, white cabbage and mustard (try our version of this sandwich here). Stir-fried cubes of tofu have sweet and sour vibes with a lingering chilli kick, while fried chicken is coated in a crisp batter with creamy lime mayo.
The custom-made charcoal grill from Tokyo is used to cook directly over coals – rare beef onglet tataki is accompanied by shiitake mushrooms that burst with sweet and acidic soy sauce and sherry vinegar, and catch of the day is served whole with daikon and citrus soy. Add a side of smoky chargrilled sweetcorn slathered in miso paste and chilli.
Pork Tonkatsu sandwich
And to drink?
The Black Geisha cocktail makes a refreshing aperitif, with yuzu sake adding the fruit’s citrusy and floral notes to Beefeater gin and sweet orgeat syrup. For something to end the evening, try a Japanese twist on an old fashioned, combining Nikka All Malt whisky with a dash of sake and yuzu bitters.
olive says… Sit at the bar for a more intimate experience and watch the chefs cook over the grill. Then head next door to St John at Hackney brewery for craft beers and lively pub vibes.
Written by Alex Crossley