Chicken Shop – Tooting
141 Tooting High Street
Hands up if you like chicken. Who can say that they don’t? It’s inoffensive- provided you are not a vegetarian but if you are, then I question why you are reading a post titled “Chicken Shop”…Yes it can be a bit ho-hum and there is a reason why they say “everything taste like chicken” but to those people, I challenge that you haven’t had chicken done right – and that a visit to Chicken Shop will make you reconsider.
From the same group that brought us the likes of Pizza East and Dirty Burger (and on the back of their success in Kentish Town) comes the 2nd coming of Chicken Shop; this time settling south of the river on Tooting Broadway. Like its sister restaurant, Chicken Shop is self explanatory and as advertised on the box – you come for chicken; delicious, juicy spit-roasted chicken. The decisions you have to make are minimal and can be summarised as below:
1) How much chicken do you want? Quarter, half or whole?
2) Want sides with that? Crinkle cut fries, coleslaw, corn on the cob, butter lettuce and avocado salad?
3) Got room for dessert? Lemon cheesecake, warm brownie, apple pie?
4) Wanna get your drank on? Wine, beer, non-alcoholic?
Stress-free, straightforward, easy – the messiest part of this meal is eating the chicken! So on that note, my order read: half chicken, all sides (please don’t judge me), the apple pie and ‘decent’ red. Thank you.
The chicken that Chicken Shop is serving is sizable – half a chicken could feed two with some sides – and all free-range. The meat was tender and juicy and most importantly, that included the breast which was the most at risk of being overcooked/dry. The sauce used to glaze the chicken while on spit was spot on – it was a BBQ-type sauce with a kick but it also inherited smokiness from the open fire during the cooking process. There is also a choice of either hot or smokey sauce on each table to go with your meal; both complement the chicken but I personally preferred the hot sauce.
The sides are a great example of where the end result is greater than the sum of the parts – individually, each dish was solid but together, they made the meal. The crickle cut fries were crisp and T, the resident chip expert, gave them the thumbs up. The corn on the cob, barbequed and served with a butter and coriander sauce, was my winner of the night - just smokey goodness. The coleslaw was creamy but had a dominant onion and vinegar taste which I found a bit strong on its own but when eaten with the chicken was very enjoyable. The butter lettuce and avocado salad, served with a mustard vinaigrette dressing was good and played its part in the meal. In summary, my rank of sides go: corn, chips, coleslaw then salad but then again, T’s went: coleslaw, salad, chips then corn so that speaks a lot about personal preference. You really can’t go wrong with any combination to be fair.
Seeing us off was the apple pie which on the menu says is served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or fresh cream but ask nicely and you’ll get both. I’d heard through the grapevine that this was unmissable so my expectations had already been built up and I can safely say that they were also met. This was a very good dessert and reminiscent of the apple pie I’ve had before in the States. It was even served like they do in movies with the waitress bringing the whole pie to your table to scoop out your portion! The apple filling was not overpoweringly sweet and retained a lot of the apples natural acidity and tang which went really well with the cream and ice cream. Don’t miss out. Do it.
So first came Dirty Burger in Vauxhall and now, Chicken Shop in Tooting Broadway. Slowly but surely, South London is finally getting its fair share of decent quality cheap eats. Long may the great southern migration continue and hopefully that will mean a few more Chicken Shop’s opening in a neighbourhood near you.