There’sbeen three big trends on the London restaurant scene in 2012. Firstly, no reservation policies, secondly the craze for simple menus that specialise in just one or two dishes and finally the fashion for Americana comfort food with many of the hyped new launches serving dirty burgers, fried chicken and racks of ribs.
One new venture that fits all three of these slots is Muswell Hill newcomer Chooks, a specialist in American style barbecue grilled chicken. With their rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack, neon lighting, exposed brickwork and strictly no reservations, they’re just about the trendiest restaurant around right now…
Our recent meal kicked off with a small portion of super spicy buffalo wings, glazed in tangy hot sauce with blue cheese and celery dip to cool ’em down; and a portion of deep fried pickled gherkins. Pickles can be quite ‘Marmite’, you either love them or hate them but these are a must for fans – thin slices of gherkin deep fried in light batter and utterly addictive.
In order to sample a wide range of dishes, we opted to share the whole chicken tray dinner between two. This comprised of two halves – one buttermilk fried and one grilled with a choice of lemon & herb, buffalo or BBQ coating. We opted for the lemon and herb version which was tasty and succulent with a slightly crispy skin. Our personal preference however was the buttermilk fried chicken, akin to three huge pieces of a posh KFC. The coating was thick and crunchy and concealed within it chicken that glistened with moisture.
The tray dinner comes served with four sides, a creamy coleslaw, the house baked beans – more like refried beans than anything Heinz make, savoury Dirty Rice and a huge portion of the thinnest onion rings we’ve ever seen. Shoelace thin onions means more surface area meaning more batter – deadly.
After stuffing ourselves with this feast, dessert was unfortunately not an option but we will be back soon, if only to attempt the Chooks Inferno Wing Challenge. If you think you can take on half a dozen of the hottest wings this side of the Atlantic then step up and have a go! If you finish all six and – here’s the killer – wait five minutes before having a drink, the wings are free and you’ll win a place on the ‘Wall of Flame’.
Great value, super service and AMAZE-BALLS food means Chooks slides on to the ladder of our favourite places in London. Get in there before the queue is snaking all the way to Soho!
43 The Broadway, N10