What: A trendy yet homely restaurant in Marylebone where roast chicken, flatbreads and creative vegetables dishes are the stars of the show. Sidechick also offers a fairly priced and well-chosen selection of natural and biodynamic wines and a creative list of cocktails.
Who: Sidechick is an offshoot of Joe Grossman’s successful burger brand Patty & Bun and is located next door to the brand’s inaugural restaurant on the northern end of James Street. Originally a lockdown-born delivery brand, the concept has morphed into something much more ingredient-led, foodie and - dare we say it - grown-up than one might expect from the irreverent burger brand. Luke Frankie - formerly head chef at The Drapers Arms and, before that, a sous chef at Skye Gyngell’s Spring - is head chef.
The vibe: Split over two floors with an open kitchen and dining area on ground level with a second dining room below, the restaurant seats 50 covers indoors and 20 outdoors. Designed by Day Studio, whose restaurant portfolio includes Padella and Trullo, the restaurant has an old school feel with terracotta tiling and polished walnut wall panelling. Downstairs is more playful, with rattan, hessian and deep orange cord seating. The living room-look of both spaces is partly inspired by Grossman’s nan (the restaurant was originally going to be named Shelia’s in honour of her).
The food: The menu opens with flatbreads - topping include mushroom, tarragon and ricotta as well as confit onion, anchovy, olives and thyme - before moving onto vegetables dishes and the chicken. Vegetable dishes are creative and largely served in starter-sized portions, including the likes of aubergine, tomato compote, labneh, breadcrumbs and pecorino; peas, bacon, pearl onion and baby gem; and courgettes, borlotti beans and anchovy. With these costing roughly £8 a throw and chicken priced at £12 /£24 for half/whole the prices at Sidechick are competitive given the quality of the ingredients and the level of skill on display in the kitchen. Sourced from Patty & Bun’s long-standing meat supplier HG Walter, the chickens arrive nearly fully boned having been brined for 24 hours, marinated for a further 24 hours and - finally - roasted. There are three varieties available: zatar, chimichurri and piri-piri with the latter the most popular by some margin. Currently the birds are cooked to order but the team are looking at introducing an express menu that would necessitate hot-holding.
To drink: Wine takes centre stage with five reds, five whites, two skin contact and one sparkling. Prices start at £25 a bottle and top out at £47. Cocktails include Tang Tang (pisco, Aperol, Orgeat, egg white); Lil’ Man (Mezcal, blood orange, agave, lime); and Sheila’s - a homage to Grossman’s gran - made with sherry, cava and bitters.
And another thing: More Sidechick’s could follow but they’ll be much more differentiation within the brood than at Patty & Bun in terms of menu and site design. Sidechick is still a delivery brand offering roughly the same takeaway-friendly menu it did when it was launched during lockdown, which was more in-line with Patty & Bun. This has given Grossman something of a branding headache, because both iterations of the chicken brand could well take flight.