News > Business

Hen party: London goes chicken crazy

2 commentsBy Stefan Chomka , 03-Oct-2012

Related topics: Business, Venues, Trends & Reports, Restaurant Trends, Restaurants

The recent flurry of new chicken-led restaurants shows no signs of abating with more set to launch in the capital in the coming months.

Hey, good chooking: Chicken Shop, Soho House Group's new restaurant, has recently opened in Kentish Town

Hey, good chooking: Chicken Shop, Soho House Group's new restaurant, has recently opened in Kentish Town

London has seen a spate of openings where poultry has a leading role, including Soho House’s rotisserie-style Chicken Shop in Kentish Town, The Tramshed in Shoreditch, which serves a limited menu of roast chickens and steak, and Rita’s Bar & Dining in Stoke Newington, where chicken wings and a fried chicken sandwich feature.

There’s more to come, however, including fried chicken and beer restaurant Wishbone, due to open later this month in Brixton Market, Canteen chef and co-founder Cass Titcombe’s Roost, and Chooks, which is soon to open in Muswell Hill.

Another rotisserie chicken concept, Clockjack Oven, is also due to launch in central London, with plans to create a chain of up to 15 sites. With US-style burgers as well as gourmet hotdogs having hogged the limelight in recent months, it was only a matter of time before it turned to chicken, says Scott Collins, co-founder of burger business MeatLiquor and a backer of Wishbone. “Chicken deserves to be treated with a bit of respect.”

Many poultry-based restaurants have been influenced by the resurgence of gourmet chicken in the US, adds Collins. “There’s a new wave of gourmet fried chicken in the States, from places such as Little Skillet in San Francisco. The traditional fried chicken in the US doesn’t really translate, but the more gourmet chicken does.”

Insatiable appetite

Collins says that despite the glut of openings at the moment, the idea for chicken hasn’t come overnight, with many plans having been in the pipeline for a while. “When we started serving fried chicken at the Meatwagon at Herne Hill (in 2009) the bloggers went mental for it,” he says. Chef and food writer William Leigh, Wishbone’s founder, has been working on the idea for four years.

Chicken’s versatility has also been behind its current popularity, with the types of restaurants serving it varying greatly. Mark Hix’s Tramshed takes a more upmarket approach while Chicken Shop is altogether more mid-market.

Chooks, being launched by restaurateur Gideon Joffe, will also focus on value for money, with chicken served in quarters, halves and as a whole bird for £4.95, £6.95 and £12.95 respectively. As at Chicken Shop, there will also be a takeaway offer. “The consumer’s appetite for chicken seems insatiable. With Chooks we have tried to deliver on great food at great value without any pretention,” says Joffe.

Wishbone will be more “down and dirty,” says Collins, with a downstairs area for drinking and finger food, while upstairs will feature a bigger menu plus cocktails.

2 comments (Comments are now closed)

Ain't nothing like juicy breasts :)

Nando's been doing this for years... glad to see they will finally have some competition!

Report abuse

Posted by Snewp
03 October 2012 | 15h19

cheep-cheap chicken?

This article on new chicken outlets/concepts in London makes interesting reading-
but I am surprised that nothing is stated about the provenance of the chicken used in any of the them.
I’m sure you are aware of the Chicken Out! campaign started by Hugh F-W http://www.chickenout.tv/about-campaign.html
As well as the work done by the Soil Association : http://www.soilassociation.org/animalwelfare/chickenandturkeys.
Apart from Mark Hix, who has made it clear that he only uses free-range chicken from Wooley Park Farm, it would be good to know the provenance of the chicken of the other operations mentioned in this piece and what their stated policy is on sourcing/sustainability/ animal welfare.

Report abuse

Posted by Martin Lam
03 October 2012 | 15h05

BigHighlights

60-Second Skill: Pouring champagne

60-Second Skill: Pouring champagne

As demonstrated at the Moet UK Sommelier of the Year competition, champagne pouring requires skills and knowledge....

Mark Poynton: Pearls of Wisdom

Mark Poynton: Pearls of Wisdom

The British chef-patron of the Michelin-starred Alimentum and star of Great British Menu Mark Poynton talks about...

Interview with Glendola Leisure's Alexander Salussolia
Small Talk

Alexander Salussolia on Silk & Grain, market niches and nurturing future talent

Managing director of Glendola Leisure Alexander Salussolia joined the company in 1992 as an area manager, before...

60-Second Skill: Using #foodporn to your advantage

60-Second Skill: Using #foodporn to your advantage

Customers posting pictures of your food on social media is a trend you can't escape, but by...

Hospitality openings: July 2014

Hospitality openings: July 2014

Our latest round of up of the hottest hospitality openings includes Dev Biswal's new Ambrette in Canterbury, Wahaca's...

Gallery: Belsfield Hotel re-launches with Laura Ashley interiors

Gallery: Belsfield Hotel re-launches with Laura Ashley interiors

Laura Ashley has partnered with the Belsfield Hotel in the Lake District, seeing it undergo a complete...

Find us on Facebook

Digital Edition - Restaurant Magazine

Access to the Restaurant Magazine digital edition