Recently it seems like there are fun new restaurants opening all over London, in Soho, Clerkenwell, Hackney, Brixton, you name it. Everywhere except near me.
Until tonight that is!
I’d already got some salmon out of the freezer for tonight’s tea (yes, tea, I’m from Yorkshire) but when I saw on Twitter that the Soho House Group had opened not one, not two but three new restaurants only ten minutes walk from my house I was beside myself with excitement. I have no idea how this had passed me by until now but it seemed I’d caught up just in time. Tonight was opening night for Dirty Burger, the soft launch of Chicken Shop and the slightly more formal Pizza East opened only a couple of days ago.
I had grand plans of trying to eat at them all in one night but obviously that would’ve been crazy so once I had successfully got myself a table at the soft launch of Chicken Shop (I wasn’t invited – clearly!) I bedded in and reminded myself that the best things come to those who wait.
For tonight, chicken was my choice.
The menu is wonderfully simple and alarmingly affordable, especially tonight as everything was half price, but even at full price you can get a meal, pudding and drink for under £15.
The venue is really cool with an exposed wooden ceiling, low lighting and tea lights on the tables. There’s a selection of tables for small groups and also the option to sit at the large wooden bar, where you can see all the action as the chickens are cooked over charcoal and wood on the huge rotisserie grill.
Chicken is the only option but there’s the choice of a whole chicken, a half or a quarter. I went for a quarter and was pleased with my portion.
The chickens are ‘Happy Chickens’, all free range and sourced from a farm in Norfolk. Not something to be sniffed at. They’re marinaded overnight and then steamed, which I imagine is what made it so juicy and succulent. Just before service they’re then grilled on the rotisserie, chopped up at the wooden bar and finished off with a squeeze of lemon.
There are four side options; salad, chips, coleslaw and corn. We went for one of each. We were also presented with pots of ketchup and aioli and there is the choice of the house hot sauce or smokey sauce (both delicious) for your chicken. I do love a good condiment so to be presented with such a selection, without being made to feel greedy, is my idea of good service.
All of the sides were good and the portions were generous. I especially enjoyed the salad which had huge chunks of ripe avocado and a great dressing. The chips were not quite as fluffy inside as I would have liked but the chef explained that they we still making some decisions about sourcing their potatoes and he hoped they would be perfect by the official opening on Tuesday. I don’t doubt it.
By the time I had polished all that off I was pretty full but, not one to resist a pudding, or a bargain, I powered through.
The options are lemon cheesecake, chocolate brownie or deep filled apple pie. All served in huge portions with ice cream or cream. I was temped by the apple pie as I had seen it sitting in front of me all night and it looked homemade and delicious but I’m a chocoholic through and though so the brownie it was.
A bloody good brownie too. It’s a sign of a great pudding when you’re already full and then suddenly, before you realise, it’s all gone.
If I’m honest I rarely order brownies because they are almost always dry and disappointing. Not this one. It had a deep chocolate flavour with a nice crunch from the nuts (macadamia?) and the texture was amazing, the perfect amount of gooeyness.
Next time I must try the apple pie though.
I have a feeling I might well become a regular at Chicken Shop. I can’t wait to try its sister restaurants, which I’ve no doubt will be of the same high standards. Hurrah and thank you to Soho House for bringing something new and fresh to my neighbourhood.
If tonight is anything to go by, I predict that Chicken Shop will be a huge success. Great food, friendly service and affordable prices. What more can you ask for? Apart from it being a ten minute walk from your house that is! 8/10.
(Don’t worry, the salmon will be put to good use tomorrow. Waste not, want not!)