Friday, 6 December 2013
Chicken Shop, Tooting
Already home to London’s most enviable collection of South Indian and Sri Lankan restaurants (you can’t go far wrong with any of them but Apollo Banana Leaf and Jaffna House are my pick of the bunch), the arrival of Chicken Shop on the High Street is yet another reason to travel to Tooting for dinner. The first branch, up in Kentish Town, has had them queuing down the street at times, although given the competition in that area perhaps that’s not surprising. More unclear is how the concept will go down in a part of London not exactly crying out for more dining options.
Anyway, here it is, and very decent it is too. This isn’t going to be a huge post - there’s only so much you can write about a restaurant with one menu item - but then Chicken Shop isn’t a place that really needs all that much publicity anyway; nearly every table was taken on an opening weekday evening at 6:30pm. Five of us sat at the bar - the only space left - and ordered “two chickens and all the sides twice”.
Not pictured is a nice enough coleslaw and an actually very nice indeed lettuce and avocado salad which was dressed and seasoned faultlessly. Apologies for the lack of photos but it was pretty dark in there and anyway, I’m sure you can imagine what coleslaw and a green salad look like.
The main event is, of course, the chicken and for just £14.50 for an entire bird I can forgive them it tasting slightly low-rent, and even for overcooking it in parts. It was, in the end, a very acceptable bit of bird, with some good charring from the rotisserie, and we all enjoyed it, even more when coated in one of the two house hot sauces. They were so good in fact that I would have happily paid for a jar to take home if they were for sale.
So, helped along by efficient service, some crinkle-cut chips and a couple of jugs of house red, a good time was had by all. There’s nothing to swoon over at Chicken Shop - it’s a solid, friendly place doing one thing and doing it well enough - but even so, in a city where plenty of people manage to get chicken so horribly wrong, even this modest achievement is to be admired. And for a bill of £15 a head, there’s really not much you can moan about. So I won’t.