Chicken Shop Kentish Town
Ground floor, 53-79 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, London, NW5 1TL
Freeing fried chicken from its high-street chains, this small but growing operation is run by the hip folk at the Soho House Group. Branches have already sprouted in Tooting, Whitechapel, Holborn and Chicago (yes, the one in Illinois). Down in a woody, retro-styled basement beneath Pizza East (also part of Soho House), Chicken Shop focuses on just the one thing: spit-roasted free-range poultry – quarter, half or whole chickens – served hot, smoky or as they come. Add a few sides such as crinkle-cut fries or corn on the cob, squeeze in a lemon meringue pie at the end, and Bob’s your uncle. So, what’s the word on the bird? The chicken arrives tender and moist, with appropriately crispy skin: a winner. Heineken comes in a can, Camden Pale Ale and Moretti are on draught, and wine is served in jugs. There’s even a
takeaway to eat in front of your TV.
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Brixton Market, London, SW9 8JX
Wishbone is the brainchild of food writer and chef William Leigh, along with Scott Collins, one of the founders of popular burger joint, Meatliquor. This new emporium aims to feed London's current
appetite for all things 'galline' (ie. 'chickeny') going about its business amid the hubbub of Brixton Market, with ‘vertical drinking’ and finger food at ground level and a dining room upstairs.
‘Fried chicken and beer’ is the bottom line, with ‘dirty wings’ and chunks of deep-fried, free-range meat as the solid mainstays, backed by craft brews such as Hobo Beer (a new Czech lager made
from Saaz hops), a few ciders and some lively cocktails. Breakfast (chicken, of course) and takeaways are on the menu – space permitting (Wishbones’ kitchen is tiny, by all accounts).
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£30 - £49
4 Ravenscroft Street, London, E2 7QG
Right between buzzing Columbia Road and happening wine bar Sager & Wilde in Hackney, Clutch has hopped
onto the dude food trend with a clear conscience, serving ethically sourced, free-range fried chicken to a widely varied demographic. Set in a freshly painted former pub that’s attached to a
well-maintained ex-council estate, the slick interior design cues hint at a dining experience that’s aiming far higher than your usual bucket of KFC, with brass-topped tables and monochrome zigzag
floors demanding guests’ attention. The menu offers half or whole buckets of chicken, ‘Love Me Tender’ goujons and ‘Put a Wing On It’ chicken wings – with each option offered in two different
marinades. Stand-outs are the fresh-flavoured lemon and parmesan goujons served with a rich truffle aioli, and the signature sweet soy and garlic chicken bucket - the rich, sticky, tangy marinade
is incredibly moreish. Inventive dips and sauces such as whipped feta add a fun twist, while side options include an earthy beetroot salad. There’s a short cocktail menu to boot – spice fans should
try the chilli chicklet, a refreshing mix of tequila, lemon juice and red chilli that cuts through the richness of the food brilliantly.
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55 Berwick Street, London, W1F 8SP
“One of the best cheap eats in London” (according to one regular), this outlet from the guys behind pizza joint Soho Joe is all about rotisserie chickens served with some international flourishes and a noticeable Middle Eastern bias. Free-range chooks from the West Country are given the treatment on a mobile rotisserie trolley and served with a choice of punchy sauces. The laminated menu also promises “phenomenal” Lebanese flatbread wraps, burgers, salads and mezze-style standards ranging from grilled halloumi and falafel to moutabal and tabbouleh, while desserts offer sticky baklava as well as transatlantic staples such as chocolate fudge cake or homemade apple pie – in short, “good honest food”. The Cookhouse lives up to its name, with cramped interiors, budget furnishings, tins of cutlery and big trays of food on display.
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£30 - £49
32 Rivington Street, London, EC2A 3LX
Curious passers-by peer through the window to catch a glimpse of Damien Hirst’s ‘Cock and Bull’ installation housed in chef/art collector Mark Hix’s Tramshed. They should brave it and go on in; allcomers are welcome at this cavernous industrial space where Hix serves seriously sourced chicken and steak – crowd-pleasers both – to solo diners at the bar, rowdy parties in capacious booths, and everyone in between. In less capable hands, Tramshed would be a fail-safe ‘yawn’ of a concept, but Hix’s menu goes beyond salt-aged Glenarm beef and roast barn-reared chooks into lively international territory. To wit, whipped chicken livers served with an enormous duck-fat Yorkshire pud (as a British alternative to brioche), American-style bone-in rib and slaw, a fearsomely hot curry, and a no-airs-and-graces raspberry cheesecake – not that anything will lure the lunchtime crowd away from their steak sandwiches. Wines and cocktails are credible rather than posey.
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Chicken Shop Tooting
Ground Floor, 141 Tooting High Street, London, SW17 0SY
Following the success of their original Chicken Shop in Kentish Town, the guys from the Soho House
Group have launched another one-trick pony celebrating the delights of roast chicken. Expect a similar vintage ‘general store’ look with red chequered floors, diner-style tables, red stools and a
long wooden counter, plus a menu chalked up on the wall. The basic offer revolves around free-range Norfolk chickens – marinated, steamed, then crisped-up on the rotisserie. As before, back-up
comes from generously portioned sides served in blue-rimmed enamel dishes (crinkle-cut chips, coleslaw, corn-on-the-cob), with chilli kicks provided by the house ‘hot' sauce. Finally, ‘say when’
and choose the ‘size of your slice’ when it comes to sweets such as deep-filled apple pie or lemon cheesecake. Takeaways and picnics, too.
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