Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Feel like Chicken Tonight; FOOD the Latest Food Trend at the Hottest Joints in Town Is Gourmet Chicken. and It's Fingerlickin' Good, Says Victoria Stewart

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Feel like Chicken Tonight; FOOD the Latest Food Trend at the Hottest Joints in Town Is Gourmet Chicken. and It's Fingerlickin' Good, Says Victoria Stewart

Article excerpt

Byline: Victoria Stewart

FOUR legs are pointing upwards, toes clenched. The first pair is bound together on the table in front of me; the second is in front of a brace of businessmen seated beside us.

This duo are here for the chicken, of course. Well, they'll claim it's an early business lunch, but really they're here for the chicken carving through tender meat, ripping off skin and later chomping down on breast, legs and even claws is all part of the experience at Tramshed.

Mark Hix is part of a brood of chefs clucking along to the capital's latest food fad. In southern America, it mostly comes fried. Now, in many London postcodes, not only is chicken being fried in oil and served crunchy but also gently roasted, covered in chilli, steamed and served with a carbohydrate to soak up the juices.

Since Londoners have become accustomed to living under a constant, soggy storm cloud, a piece of chicken fried or otherwise is just the sort of comfort food we look forward to having second helpings of. Hix's new restaurant, Tramshed, sells variations of just two things steak and chicken and while plenty come for the former, that hasn't stopped the kitchen cooking 600 birds in a week.

There, the fowls are delivered from Woolley Park Farm in Wiltshire to sit in a chicken cooler after which they are part roasted, part steamed, grilled, then placed on the table "arse over tip" as described by the Standard's David Sexton spindly legs tied together and paraded on a special stick, a soft herby stuffing between the legs. The alternative is chicken breast or thigh meat served with green salad and an incredible Continued on Page 36

Continued from Page 35 bread sauce ball that oozes when pierced.

"Every week is different. Yesterday, for example, we sold 120 chickens but people like the flavour and the moisture because we cook them to order. As soon as they're cooked in the oven, they're finished on the grill and taken out to the table," says head chef Darren Lock. "When we're busy, you've got four or five flying across the room, which looks rather good."

Among those who think this particular piece of poultry is worth picking at is Jackson Boxer of Vauxhall's much admired Brunswick House Cafe who, last Friday, launched Rita's Bar and Dining in Dalston. The menu still includes BBQ rabbit bun and duck heart baked beans. But, according to the Standard's restaurant critic Fay Maschler, "it was chicken that put the squawk in the project".

Boxer's bird will arrive in a roll for [pounds sterling]6.50. Later in the year, during October's London Restaurant Festival, Bincho Tapas in Exmouth Market plans to sell a [pounds sterling]6 tasting plate with chicken skin, mint chicken with Japanese vegetables and marinated deep fried chicken with ponzu. And as Nick Jones, CEO of Soho House UK, is drawing up final plans to his newest offering a fried chicken joint called Chicken Shop, in Kentish Town so too is William Leigh in Brixton. …

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