A cold and rainy Sunday morning found me hankering for a simple and delicious lunch that surpassed the usually disappointing pub roast. And then I remembered Chicken Shop, the recent(ish) addition to Tooting High Street from the Soho House Group. Just as we were about to leave, tummies rumbling, our 16 month old son decided now would be the optimum moment to fling himself down the stairs, so chicken thoughts on hold we headed to A&E to get him checked over.
A couple of hours later (the NHS is amazing and he was fine, fearlessness in tact) we could resume our lunching plans. Happily the hospital is just round the corner from the restaurant, and so more in need of comfort food than ever, off we (me, husband, and our little flying nutter) went.
On opening the door the miserable English weather and sterile hospital corridors were quickly forgotten as the warmth from the roaring kitchen fires enveloped us with heat and the incredible lip-smacking smell of freshly roasting chicken, promising a late-lunch to be gobbled up in greedy fashion.
There was some brief confusion about how many of us there were (totally my fault) and then the staff were whisking out a highchair and we sat down straight away, our eyes already devouring the wall-mounted blackboard menu. The options are limited, as they should be when the aim is to serve one thing brilliantly. Basically, how much chicken do you want (a lot), and what would you like with it. We opted for the whole roast chicken, two sides of crinkle cut fries, coleslaw and the butter lettuce and avocado salad, which was plenty for two hungry adults and a toddler. Then you just add their hot (it is!) or smokey sauce if you like, although unusually for a total sauce fanatic (and I mean FANATIC), I thought the chicken was perfect as it came. Two cheeky beers to wash it all down with (we needed them) and you have lunchtime heaven.
We didn’t have time for the gorgeous dessert options – apple pie, lemon tart and chocolate brownies – but I like to think that means we will just have to go back another day. Preferably without the preceding hospital visit.
The decor feels like a shabby (chic, obviously) mountain lodge, and I half expected to find tomorrow’s unsuspecting chickens pecking at our ankles and a sea of lumberjack shirts and beards (although perhaps the shirts/beards wouldn’t have been out of place, ‘lumbersexuals’ are in apparently). Food is served in ever-popular enamelware to reinforce the relaxed feel, which also served our no-China for our little demolition demon requirement – although parents beware: it still makes quite a crash when thrown dramatically from a highchair…
The service was excellent, even down to the smile of, “don’t worry I’ll do that” as I scrabbled to clear up the inevitable floor-debris of eating with a little person, which always falls on very grateful ears.
Chicken Shop we love you. You brought us back from the brink of toddler-induced panic and wrapped us up in chicken loveliness. You saved our Sunday, thank you.
Our meal was £46.13, including service.