By Esin Huseyin
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to the press launch of their new Kentish Town branch.
The NW5 branch was going to build up one and improve on some of their classic dishes, with more weight being on the chicken.
The he restaurant is now fully open and furnished, but successfully caused quite a stir in the neighbourhood when they had a soft launch, stirring up gossip in the town and actually having a successful opening.
Have you been to the Covent Garden branch? I haven’t, so I don’t really have anything to compare it with. Aesetically the place was bright and airy, as there were huge floor to ceiling windows. There were also tables outside, perfect for the vibe of the area, as well as prempting the London summer.
Now, you may think I’m ridiculous for attending considering I’m not a huge fan of eggs or shrimp – which were on the menu that night. But, I still tucked in to most things, and had to be rolled home that night.
Our menu for the night was:
– Gooey corn spoon bread, with clotted cream and Red Leicester cheese
– Devilled eggs, with chicken skin mayonnaise and bacon crumbs
– Deep fried short rib meat, with red onion jam poached egg and dijonnaise
– Southern fried bird, 24 hour sweet tea brined free range with lemon dust and hot sauce honey
– Mac ‘N’ cheese; curly macaroni four cheeses and a biscuit crust
– Shrimp ‘N’ Grits; stoneground cheese grits with Shrimps, red onion, melted tomato, shredded house cured bacon and Camden ale jus
– Collard Greens
– Buckwheat waffle, with bourbon maple syrup
– Chicken gravy
The gooey corn bred was a little odd because of the consistency, it was like a cross between soggy biscuits and scrambled eggs. The cheese was very mild, so I felt this needed a pop of something stronger perhaps. Pleasant, but not my favourite.
The meat loaf was no ordinary meat loaf, instead of blended and mushed meat, when you cut inside you could see amazing shredded meat. Perfectly crispy and well seasoned on the outside, and gloriously juicy and tender on the inside. This is definitely a stand out dish on the menu! The dijonnaise gave it a nice little kick as well, with the accents of the onion coming through balancing out the harsh and sweet tones.
I have heard that soaking chicken in brine overnight makes it more juicy and flavoursome, but when I tried it the difference from ordinary chicken was astonishing. The coating was just the right thickness and crispness, the flavours weren’t too overpowering but it was a pretty fresh taste. The chicken on the inside was something I’ve never eaten; juicy, the white meat comparison on peeling off the bone.
The chicken was partnered with collard greens, buckwheat waffles, watermelon and chicken gravy. The waffles and gravy gave the dish the necessary stodgy factor, but were surprisingly light.
Most people think that serving something as sweet as watermelon with chicken is a little odd, but according to one of the guests it’s a genuine Southern thing. I know that in Turkey they serve sweet watermelon with salty halloumi cheese. The fruit added more juice, and actually brought out the flavours of the coating more.
Overall, the menu was a broad range of home cooked hearty soul warmers and skilled cooking, and I’ll definitely be back!