Balham birds

My dinner date tonight was a friend who has spent the last two months completing the Australian leg of the Clipper round the world boat race. After being confined to a small vessel in rough seas what better welcome home than chicken and chipsphoto (11).

I’d seen a few outposts of Chicken Shop on my travels including Tooting and the Hoxton Hotel in Holborn. Soho House Group run this mini chain alongside Pizza East and Dirty Burger so I had high hopes. There are six branches so far – including Chicago randomly.

Tonight we are in Balham – about 20 seconds from the station which is handy. Another straight from work dinner so we arrived around the 6.30pm mark. There was probably only four people in there excluding staff – two of these were under ten years old. However in we went.

The interior was stylish – wood clad walls and retro style furniture. We chose a table complete with a mid-century style lamp – low lighting throughout made for a cosy feel. Tables were nicely spaced – often a massive thumbs down in eateries offering quick food and wanting a fast turnaround.

We went for wine and I liked the offering – several whites and reds – categorised house, decent and good, by the glass, small or large jug. We went for a large jug of decent white and ended up with a lovely Pinot Grigio (£23). Spot on to go with the food.

The menu is one of the smallest I’ve seen but for good reason. Chicken is the main event. Free range and cooked on the rotisserie. Quarter, half or whole. We went for the half to share £10. The chicken was delicious – really moist and nicely seasoned. They do their own sauces available on each table too if you want to jazz up your meal at all.

Next sides. Again just four to choose from: crinkle cut fries, corn on the cob, coleslaw and butter lettuce and avocado salad. One coleslaw and one fries to share again – both were really good. The chips weren’t greasy and the coleslaw wasn’t drowning in dressing. Everything was served in enamel dishes which seemed to be favoured by quite a few places these days. Even the wine came in enamel jugs. It added to the pared back, old school aesthetic and I liked it.

Confusingly there is also an outpost of Dirty Burger within Balham’s Chicken Shop. This means there’s also three burgers available (including a veggie option) I pity any vegetarian that gets taken here. Its really not the place for them.

Service was quick and discreet. Staff cleared empty plates as they passed – no fussing or interrupting. The place was well staffed though so easy to attract attention.

After being engrossed in two months worth of gossip we suddenly noticed the place was pretty packed – not bad for a Tuesday night. Take away and Deliveroo were in full swing too. The website says you don’t even need to pre order for take out just turn up.

For anyone that can manage it there are a few desserts on offer – we didn’t partake on this occasion.

All in all a great meal – good quality ingredients and an unfussy menu. I would definitely go back to Balham or another branch – it’s ideal for a casual catch up. And they do breakfast.

You can then pop down the road to the BBC after. Happy days.

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