Soho House Group has become the latest restaurant operator to put chicken in the spotlight with the news it is to open a new venue called Chicken Shop in London this autumn serving rotisserie chicken as its only main course.
The operator of private members' clubs, hotels and restaurants, will open the 40-cover restaurant in the basement of Highgate Studios in Kentish Town this September alongside a new Pizza East restaurant, which will be the group's third under that brand.
So far national restaurant operator Nando's has monopolised the chicken space, but recent moves by individuals in the industry, notably Mark Hix and Cass Titcombe with Tramshed and Roost respectively, plus the eminent arrival of Wishbone at Brixton Market, show that many see chicken as a growth area.
Titcombe, who debuted Roost at Street Feast in Dalston this weekend, said chicken was popular with a range of socio-cultures and was a healthier alternative to red mea l. However, unlike restaurants specialising in steak, there are few which specialise in chicken.
At the launch of its Project Restaurant 2012 report , Allegra Strategies' Anya Marco said part of Nando's success had been due to its lack of competition.
"It is performing phenomenally, with double-digit growth and rapid expansion," she said. "It helps that it has a very differentiated product; there are not five or six-strong chicken chains as there are with pizzas."
Chicken Shop, which will also offer takeaway, will serve free range chicken from Banham's farm in Norfolk. The plan is to serve marinated chicken which is steamed before being placed on the rotisserie.
Soho House chief executive and founder Nick Jones said he had spent a great deal of time researching the project to get it 'exactly right'.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, chicken would be my last meal and so I wanted to get it exactly right," he said. "The best chicken is the one you cook at home. We’ve tried to recreate that, but affordably.”
Chicken will be the only main course available, served quartered, halved and whole. Simple sides will be triple cooked chips, creamy coleslaw, corn on the cob and salad.
The restaurant's look has been designed in house by Jones and his team, who took inspiration from 1950s American general stores.