Simple food done well. The Chicken Shop
On my first visit to Tooting a few years ago I wasn’t convinced I’d be making regular trips back but I now find myself in a position where I am seriously considering buying my first house there! So, in my books the only way to decide this for sure was to check out what eating establishments were on offer. Friends hot favourite and go to was The Chicken Shop, so without further ado we set off with a couple of pals in tow. Being a chef I must admit that chicken rarely excites me and NEVER would I stoop so low as to order it in a restaurant! However, I now find myself with no other option but chicken and weirdly I was ok with this.
Instantly buzzy as you walk through the door and very busy, I like that - one hopes a sign of good things to come. Smells to die for and, after one too many glasses of wine the night before, just what I felt like eating: simple food done well. No nonsense but finger lickin’ good!
Cocktails in hand we waited patiently for our table, entertained by cleaver wielding “chefs” (4 hacks, a wedge of lemon and the whole chicken became bowled and ready for service). Once seated there were no choices to be made, it couldn’t have been simpler: chicken or chicken and wine by the jug in ‘house, decent or good’ all accompanied by crinkly fries, coleslaw (normally a pet hate but delicious), green salad and corn on the cob. Hot sauce or smokey BBQ and we were on our way. This place was fantastic; good, honest, tuck your napkin into your shirt grub that can only leave you with a huge smile on your face…and sticky fingers!
Having eaten my body weight in spit roast chicken, maxed out on crinkly fries and hot sauce I practically rolled home. Being fairly active and healthy, guilt got the better of me on Monday morning so I started thinking about a ‘School Night’ recreation with less pangs of guilt and fewer calories! What I loved about the Chicken Shop was it’s core message: simple food done well is often the best and fancy pants doesn’t always hit the spot.
I came across this Jamie Oliver (the King of no fuss deilciousness in my books) ‘Zingy fat-Free Dressing’ that looked interesting. I am not normally one for ‘fat free’, I’d rather eat less of the proper stuff, but this dressing got me thinking and I set about creating The Chicken Shop for School Nights! To go with my guilt free dressing I opted for beer can chicken, sweet potato wedges and round lettuce (bog standard but my personal fave). Roast a chicken with a can of beer up the main cavity. This gives you succulent, melt in the mouth chicken (or as close as I was going to get), that’s a bit of fun even if it does look a bit wrong in the oven. In fact, it was so good and fun, we are now teaching this on our Full Stack course too!
If you want to try it for yourself, check out the recipes below: