Jason Allen 13/01/24

Big Night

Big Night is a small space.

But that’s kind of the idea.

If you’ve never seen it, the movie that owners took for inspiration for the name of the place come from a classic Stanley Tucci flick from ’96. It’s a beautifully romantic depiction of a tiny restaurant hosting a blow-out feast, its guests crammed around a small table all gorging on utterly delicious food – that’s the vibe they’re going for at Big Night.

Stroll down Morning Lane – past Dalla and the Hackney Church Brew Co – and step inside, and you’ll find a retro-style space with dark walls & wooden floors rounded out by pops of colour from the bright orange chairs clustered around the formica tables. It’s all extremely easygoing and casual, with simple jars of chopsticks, a TV playing old DVDs (yes, Big Night included) and walls adorned with movie posters, charity store paintings, and a framed collage of paper scraps from their opening night (in which the entire ordering system crashed and they had to improvise on the fly, scrawling orders on any paper they could find).

Big Night

Right at the back of the space you’ll see blackboard menu hung above the buzzing open kitchen, filled with jars of ferments (citrus salad, seaweed vinegar, chilli & kumquats, etc.) just waiting for their chance to be used in some kind of repipe alchemy. Because the food is where Big Night really comes alive – it’s driven by creativity and invention, in much the same way as Papi nearby. The predominant inspiration is a blend of both Eastern European and Asian influences – in fact one of the two starters is literally some winter kimchi chased with a shot of chilled vodka.

Big Night

After that, you’ll find the likes of grilled skewers loaded with tender chicken thighs with zippy spring onion; rich lamb heart & kidney draped in XO sauce; Brussel sprouts that have been scorched & covered in a rich, umami-laden Chinese sesame paste & some pickled chilli; and beetroot that’s been cooked in red wine (and that red wine & beetroot blend is then used to steep the daikon on the side). It’s a parade of originality and inventiveness with plenty oh high notes.

After that, you’re basically required to get the excellent green tea creme caramel, and there are beers & cocktails to wash all of this down. And you can expect a little paper umbrella in your cocktail, too – because when you get one of those…

…you know you’re in for a big night.


NOTE: Big Night is open now, Wednesday to Sunday. You can find out more, and make a booking at the website right here.

Big Night | 177 Morning Ln, London E9 6LH

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Big Night

177 Morning Ln, Hackney, East London, E9 6LH

8.8 | Great