Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Chicken Shop

I got to check out Chicken Shop for a quick dinner last week. After an epic journey to Kentish Town, I finally got the destination only to completely miss the door for the entrance. You can’t blame me, I mean look at it. With nothing more than a recyclable bag hanging on the door, it’s easy to think it’s nothing more than a broom cupboard for its sister  restaurant, Pizza East, which is next door and owned by the same group.

Nevertheless, I finally made it into the basement restaurant and was transported back in time to 1950’s America. Everything from the low lighting to the blues music and the counter side seating, makes you feel like you are the hipster living out the American Dream. Don’t worry, that’s not pretentious at all. However, sitting down at the table, I realised this was another restaurant which was keeping up with the latest “no frills” trend which is sweeping London. On a Monday night it was busy and pretty much every table was full as well as the counter side seating.
On to the important stuff, the food. This place has quickly been gathering a name in London as the only place to come for chicken which surpasses Nando’s. This would have said a lot a few years ago but the way Nando’s has been going recently, it didn’t really lead me to expect too much. The menu is plain and on the wall.

You can either have a whole, half or quarter chicken, along with a choice of 4 sides. Pretty simple. We opted for a whole chicken and a quarter chicken on the side. We also decided to get one of each side. So that was corn on the cob with melted butter, butter lettuce and avocado salad, red cabbage coleslaw and crinkle cut fries.

After the first bite I could already tell what all the fuss was about. The chicken was perfectly grilled so that it wasn’t too dry on the inside yet the outside was nice and crispy. Nothing is left to chance and every part is grilled to perfection and served with a wedge of lemon which really helps the flavour. They also leave two sauces, a smoky and a spicy to accompany the meat. In terms of the price, a whole chicken is £14 whereas at Nando’s its £12.50, but the quality is noticeable in that extra £1.50. Usually my brothers and I devour meals which could feed two young families, but this time it was a push. It might have been the sides but I doubt it.

The side dishes were actually quite small in comparison to the behemoth of the main dish. But with that being said, it would have been a struggle to finish anymore food. Each of the side dishes were fresh and tasted great. They try to cover the range of tastes within the four dishes, but the coleslaw and the crinkle cut fries are my top choices.

After that herculean task of finishing everything we ordered, we noticed the dessert menu. Never ones to half ass a mission, we ordered one of each of the desserts on the menu. The Chocolate brownie, the Lemon Cheescake and the Apple Pie. Now, I had high hopes for the brownie as most of these American style places have awesome desserts. I was a little disappointed with it however. It was really crunchy but the whole macadamia nuts ruined it in my opinion. On the other hand, the lemon cheesecake was awesome with just the right amount of tanginess to taste lemon but to not be overpowering. The highlight though, the champion of them all, the king amongst men, was the apple pie. They make this in a traditional pie dish and bring the whole dish to your table, and scoop out a massive portion onto your plate. Apple pie is always a bit hit and miss, because usually people over or undercook the apples or have the pastry too dry or not enough cinnamon etc. but this was perfect. Probably the best apple pie I’ve ever tried. If you were going to go here and not eat anything else, you would be a fool to miss this apple pie.

Overall this place was amazing. It’s a bit out of the way, but if you’re on the Northern line it’s not too far from Kentish Town station and it’s definitely worth it. In terms of price, it’s in the same range you would pay for Nando’s (if you eat normal portions and not everything on the menu like we did). With more locations opening soon in Shoreditch you have no excuse not to check it out! 

By Viren Samani (@VirenSamani1)  

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