Wednesday, 29 August 2012

The Chicken Shop, Kentish Town 15/20*

Location: Kentish Town, in the LA Fitness/Soho House compelx

Visit: Weekday evening

To Note? Look to the left of Pizza East, yes, there, it’s down those stairs

Ambiance 4/5
Design 4/5
Drinks 3/5
Staff 4/5
Extra LBS star: they can have a * for a unique concept…for now at least

A vague recollection that something was happening in Kentish Town took us out for the first official night of Chicken Shop, an offshoot of Soho House’s Pizza East and Dirty Burger out the back. We were not planning to stay, we came for the burgers, but at these prices we could not resist.

Offered the choice of a table or counter by our enthusiastic American waiter we went for counter. (They should install bag hooks straight away). The restaurant is wood clad but it only feels like a Scandanavian sauna in the toilets, otherwise the look is rustic cook house, which I imagine is what they are going for. Leather diner chairs and metal marketing plaques round the walls give the 1950’s look and the wood on the ceilings and walls continues with large wooden cupboards along one wall and a counter that functions as both the bar and the chopping board for the chicken as well as a seating area. Cutlery (and tooth picks) come in white metal cups (think prison style) and sauces are “smoky” (aka hot) or hot!

When we asked for a menu (the couple beside us arriving after had already ordered) they pointed us to the wall. Fine. I am short sighted and the lighting would definitely be described as romantic, even to blind groping levels. I asked them to read it out since the concept was simple. Chicken cooked rotisserie style is all that’s on offer and is £14 for a whole, £7 for a half, you get the idea. It was tasty and generous – and also served in a white metal pan – however since all it had to do was come from the knife in front of us to the table it was a little cold. Sides are £3 for slaw (excellent), fries (v.good) and corn (amazing with garlic butter) and £4 for a large lettuce and avocado salad. You also get a white metal pan for finished cobs and bones. We ended up taking about a quarter of the food home, and since they do take out this is not at all a problem and you get a big brown US style bag sealed with their Chicken Shop stickers. It feels quite cool.

Don’t expect big things in the drinks department with three beers (Guiness, Camden Ale at £4.50 a pint and other), one cider (Aspalls at £3.50) and all the rest is wine. For some reason they insist on emptying the wine into – you guessed it – white metal jugs. I can understand for a carafe but for a while bottle, pointless. They also seemed to have someone whose job was to put ice into glasses. I know its still finding its feet but staff seemed bored.

So overall what was the outcome. Great value for money. Tasty chicken if a little cool. I think it has potential; as does the slab of apple pie that sat in front of us all night, but just needs to bed down and let staff find their feet. 
Square Meal

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