No prizes for guessing which animal is the star of the show at chef Angelo Sato’s new restaurant – yes, it is indeed the humble chicken. Sato, who also owns Omoide in Bermondsey and previously worked at Restaurant Story, has now opened his new spot, which is inspired by traditional Japanese izakayas and showcases ‘comb to tail’ cooking, with every part of the bird cooked on skewers over charcoal – feet included.
He has opened Humble Chicken on the old original Barrafina site on Frith Street, with most of the original decor still in tact. It actually works well for this type of dining, sat up at the bar ordering rounds of fresh yakitori and crisp, cold beers. Despite the ‘humble’ moniker, there’s plenty of extra bells and whistles to elevate this far beyond being just ‘chicken on a stick’.
We’re not gonna lie, we did play it fairly safe when it came to ordering the yakitori but if you’re into it, you can order everything from tendons and cartilage, to liver and neck. We very much enjoyed the ‘tsukune’, minced chicken served with an egg yolk and tare dip; the breast with Japanese plum and shiso; and, everyone’s favourite, the chicken oyster, pimped up with smoked garlic and ponzu lemon.
In the snacks and small plates there’s plenty to enjoy too, and not a chicken dish in sight. The miso foie gras tart is especially good, served with apple, smoked daikon, and ginger pecan. We can also highly recommend the entire ‘ocean’ section of the menu – the oysters topped with fermented persimmon, citrus kosho and ‘burnt fat’; the cured mackerel with tomato ponzu and seaweed; and the tuna with fermented white asparagus. We only tried the hakata pork belly from the larger dishes, which was decent, but we’d probably stay sticking to the smaller stuff is the way to go.
Drinks are a huge part of it too – it is an izakaya after all – and Humble Chicken delivers the goods with sake, wines, Japanese whisky, cocktails, and, best of all, pints of Asahi Super Dry poured from an automatic tap for that full on futuristic feel.
Humble Chicken really is the kind of spot where you could come in for a snack or a full-on feed – a very handy set up which works particularly well in Soho. We can well imagine a few late night yakitori sessions on the cards in the months to come.
54 Frith St, Soho, London W1D 4SL