Hen party: London goes chicken crazy

By Stefan Chomka

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chicken

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
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.

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.

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Ain't nothing like juicy breasts :)

Posted by Snewp,

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

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cheep-cheap chicken?

Posted by Martin Lam,

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.

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