When my former London colleagues would ask what I wanted for lunch, I’d always reply “I’m good with chicken” and they would give me a weird look. While chicken is everywhere in the U.S., in London not so much. There were Turkish, Indian, Thai, Italian and sandwich takeaway shops but chicken? Well that was exotic not that many years ago. Thankfully Bryon burger shop arrived in New Change on Cheapside and I was able to finally get a grilled chicken sandwich (or chicken burger as the Brits call it). So when I saw the unassuming sign “Chicken Shop” outside of my hotel, the Hoxton Holborn, I was intrigued.
The Chicken Shop Window Menu
The menu is small enough to be printed on the window leading to the restaurant – chicken, four sides and three desserts. That’s all folks! The simple menu doesn’t quite convey “this is going to be a tasty meal”. I wasn’t sure what to expect – was this a fast food or fast casual place? The outside gave nothing away as the restaurant is located in the basement so I decided I was going to give it a look-see.
Walking down the stairs (for those with mobility issues, you can use the hotel elevator to access the restaurant), I expected to see a counter and lots of seating like a Five Guys or Shake Shack (new outlets in London now) so I was quite surprised to find a nicely decorated restaurant with open kitchen, counter seating overlooking the kitchen, a long communal table and a good sized dining area.
The warm woods, décor and table set up conveyed a homey feel. I was greeted by my server and shown a table facing the open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant. As it was a Saturday during a bank holiday weekend, I didn’t expect the place to be crowded and it wasn’t but during the week when the businesses are open, I would think it is quite busy. Dining solo was easy and I felt very welcome.
My Chicken Shop Lunch
The simple menu is contained on the blackboards throughout the restaurant. Today’s specials were on a separate menu. While the specials were tempting, as this was my first visit, I figured I’d order the rotisserie chicken (whole, half or quarter) with a side. Sides are simple – fries, coleslaw, corn on the cob or a butter lettuce & avocado salad. I ordered the ¼ chicken (£6) and crinkle cut fries (£4.50). The table had two sauces to kick up the heat on the chicken – hot and smokey – I kept it plain and simple.
I was brought a bowl for bones (not needed for my small chicken but I could see its use for a shared chicken). While I waited on my meal, I could see the chef creating a massive chicken avocado sandwich from the specials menu – it looked fantastic.
My meal arrived quickly and the chicken practically fell off the bone it was so tender and juicy. The chicken is marinated overnight, steamed and then spit roasted over charcoal so the flavors are plentiful. The fries came with ketchup and garlic aioli. For such a simple menu it was really a tasty surprise. The server and manager checked on me more than once to ensure I was happy. A few more patrons arrived and also had the same look of “wow, this is nice” as they descended the stairs like I had.
The Chicken Shop Apple Pie
The dessert options were three – chocolate brownie, lemon tart and the famous Chicken Shop Apple Pie. The server was steering me to the apple pie but I told her “I really hate apple pie as I’m not a cinnamon fan”. I asked about the other two options and her facial expressions couldn’t hide her feelings as she said “I don’t really like either”. I decided to pass on dessert as I would go for my famous chocolate and cupcakes in Soho. I asked for the check and waited.
It felt like a long wait when the server finally appeared with an apple pie sample with a side of fresh cream telling me “just try it”. I was skeptical because I don’t like apple pie but then felt bad as she was trying to be nice with free dessert (no upsell) and I hate to waste dessert. So in the interest of blog research, I took a small bite to appease her and damn if I wasn’t perplexed by the flavors. The spoonful contained so many textures and tastes that it was actually good, really good in a I think it’s mousse mixed with apples and a side of pie crust somehow. I asked if there was cinnamon because I couldn’t taste it and she said it was mixed into the pie crust. I can no longer say “I hate apple pie” anymore as the Chicken Shop in London converted me to their version of deep dish apple pie. So now I’m adding this dessert to my favorite London desserts (the list keeps growing). A slice of apple pie cost £6.
Yum! Simple Menu full of flavors. With attentive Service intent on making sure you enjoyed your food even if it that means spoon feeding you Apple Pie. They were solo friendly and I would expect in a busy time to find a seat at the kitchen counter or communal table. I’m happy to now have a place to easily find good chicken in London – goodbye Chicken Burgers, hello Chicken Shop London.
Chicken Shop – Need to Know
Chicken Shop is part of the Soho House Group which manages Private Clubs, Hotels, Restaurants and Cinemas in Europe and North America. They also have their own Beauty & Grooming shops & products.
Nearest Tube is Holborn on the Central or Piccadilly lines. Walk two blocks to the Hoxton Holborn Hotel (202 High Holborn) and enter via hotel elevator to the basement or from the street level down the stairs.
The Chicken Shop Holborn opens at noon each day for each in or takeaway
Delivery is offered via London’s Deliveroo service
The Chicken Shop has a nine locations in London and one in Chicago
My lunch cost £10.50, service charge (server tip) was not included so I added that to the bill