Angelo Sato first opened Humble Chicken in Soho in 2021 with a focus on yakitori and ‘comb-to-tail’ chicken cookery, and he won us over with tasty skewers, inventive small plates and quick poured pints of Asahi Super Dry.
Instead of resting on his laurels, Angelo overhauled the concept (the look of the restaurant hasn’t changed, so it’s still counter dining) and has turned the yakitori-centric offering into a broader Japanese eight-course tasting menu that takes inspo from his heritage, as well as his time spent in top kitchens like Eleven Madison Park and Restaurant Story. He’s showcasing some serious cooking without taking himself too seriously, with playful nods like chicken chopstick holders, piggy face bao buns (encasing crispy trotter and quail’s egg), an owl pot for pouring dashi broth, and the option to choose your own sake cup if that’s what you pick to drink.
The opening snack of mussels stuffed with avocado and dressed with salty citrusy kosho ponzu sauce sets the tone for the meal ahead – a perfect bite with many more to follow. Our other highlights from the smaller starter courses included a miso-cured foie gras tart, the richness of the filling balanced with a chunk of melon and crunch almond brittle; soft, warm shokupan served with a beautifully layered chicken liver pate, fermented red cabbage and miso sesame butter; and a plump oyster, lightly cooked on the charcoal grill, its salinity perfectly offset by a luscious citrus kosho beurre blanc finished with burnt chicken fat.
Two lighter fish courses, one of torched mackerel delicately dressed with fermented plum, umeboshi and cucumber, and one of grilled wild seabass and squid tartare, lightly poached by an earthy yet light shiitake dashi, were the set-up for the meaty main event. Another two-parter, it started with Angelo’s take on Korean BBQ, a showstopping Wagyu Angus short rib, slow-cooked for 48 hours before being finished over the charcoal, served with pickled daikon, yakiniku sauce, barley miso and lettuce leaves to make moreish wraps.
Then came a donabe rice pot with seasonal vegetables and kombu, soy onion, and aubergine condiments, alongside the restaurant’s signature chicken achilles yakitori. Finished with charcoal fat, daikon and kosho, it was a crispy, citrusy, succulent mouthful, and proved that he certainly hasn’t lost the skill with the skewers.
The dessert course is listed as ‘one of everything’, so we’d imagine this probably changes quite a lot. For us it consisted of a tiny, warm choux bun; a super refreshing deconstructed clementine cheesecake with clementine tuille, clementine segments, and lemon balm, finished with a generous grating of frozen clementine for even more zing; and a coffee-flavoured Japanese custard, which was so light it was like eating a latte.
The food at Humble Chicken wasn’t humble the first time around and with this new iteration, Angelo has taken things to a whole new level. Get this on your list pronto.
54 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SL