Love: Chicken Shop, NW5

When Giles Coren reviewed this place recently, he said that it was the kind of place he’d always hoped would open in Kentish Town and make it as cool as he believed it was. Couldn’t have put it better myself. The news that Soho House had turned their eyes northwards (and opened three ventures, Chicken Shop, Pizza East and Dirty Burger) was greeted by all NW-ers with delight, but those of us in Kentish Town, actually felt that, finally, all our banging on about what a wonderful part of London this was, had been worth it.

The Pizza East upstairs is ok – our waiter was a bit smarmy, and the food mediocre – but it’s a nice looking place and handy to have somewhere so family/kid/brunch friendly. I haven’t been to Dirty Burger yet – personally it’s been reserved for a late-night-after-the-pub  – but then I always just go to E.Mono for that.

And so to Chicken Shop. I haven’t been half as much as Coren (who by all accounts, including his own, has been every single afternoon at 5pm since it opened). But I have been a fair few times now. And every single time it doesn’t disappoint. Service – always friendly, fast and efficient. The wait – really not too bad, even at 8pm on a Friday. (Plus they’ll send you upstairs for a cocktail and then call you when your table’s ready). The food – so so good. Perfect roast chicken in delicious season with crispy skin, handily hacked into edible chunks for you, comes hot, juicy and expertly cooked. Side – order them all – especially if you’re hungry. I’m an especial fan of their coleslaw and butter lettuce and avocado salad, but the chips and sweetcorn are not to be missed. Wine – served in jugs, described as House Decent, or Good – quite straight–forward really – quite delicious and drinkable too. Price – don’t even get me started. Such great value. £14.50 for a divinely cooked chicken, compared to £20 for a dry, hideously scrawny bird at Tramshed. It’s a no brainer.

So go people. If you haven’t already. Oh, and sit at the bar if you can – best view of the chickens, and lots of space.

Chicken Shop, 79 Highgate Road London, NW5