London, for years the roast chicken’s reputation has been in ruins. Once the favoured meat of Tudor bad boys like Henry VIII, over the years, roast chicken steadily moved down the cultural ranks and became a snooze-fest beige food with all the sex appeal of Chris Whitty. Now, we must turn to the heavens and cry ‘why God why has this crowd-pleaser poultry lost its charm, and also, whilst we’re here, please do something about this shit weather’.
Anyway, luckily for all of us Chicken Fans™out there, a new Marylebone restaurant is putting roast chicken firmly back on the map as a certified cool chick (please consider this the end of the bird puns). So put down your steak, quit that petty bacon addiction, and throw your brisket to the army of miniature dachshunds that strut around your local park. Because the roast chicken renaissance is here and Sidechick is the exposed brick, corduroy booth ground zero. Onwards for lots of chicken.
We are living in ‘unprecedented times’ (gross). But we’re running with a theory that when people can’t hug their nans, they inevitably end up craving nice, comforting chicken and good booze. That’s why it makes total sense that Patty and Bun’s lockdown chicken operation, Sidechick, was such a success that they’ve opened a bricks and mortar spot in Marylebone for people to laugh and be merry over IRL roast chicken. And we love it. From the casual little pavement terrace to the cosy downstairs booths, everything here is designed for maximum comfort and minimal chicken interruption. Add in a long list of natural wines, slick cocktails, and an aubergine side dish that is evidence all vegetables should come covered in breadcrumbs and pecorino, it’s safe to say that this is a restaurant all Londoners need in their back pocket. The chicken is moist and juicy with a perfectly crispy skin, and you can go for a zatar, piri piri, or chimichurri roast, all of which will go great with their assortment of highly-gluggable dips. Get the chicken, get the potatoes, get it all. Basically, Sidechick, you are the comfort restaurant we all deserve right now.
More Roast Chicken Spots
Royale @ East London Liquor Company
Another poultry pandemic child, Royale is home to high-end chicken. Wing for wearing bling. Chicken à la Chanel. Poultry for being sultry. Yes, this French rotisserie chicken from the people behind Shoreditch’s boozy bread haven Leroy is pure class. You can opt for a half or a - ding ding ding - whole chicken, alongside delicious things like potato and courgette gratin, wild garlic pesto, and chickpea fries with aioli. They’re currently serving all of the above out of the candlelit, moody dining room of gin distillery, East London Liquor Co. which just so happens to be perfect for date night or an intimate birthday celebration over our lord and saviour, roast chicken.
Coincidentally this South Bank restaurant has the same motto as us when we’re hungover; ‘for the love of chicken’. Someone put that on a bumper sticker and whilst you’re at it, buy us a car, so we can use said bumper sticker. Their menu also states that it’s ‘a respectful and imaginative take on this mighty bird’. Marsha finally giving roast chicken the street cred it deserves, we love to see it. Although the service here can be a little flighty (pun very much not intended) during busy periods, there’s no denying that their chicken fresh from a farm in Yorkshire is some of the best in London. They’ve got everything from glazed chicken heart to crispy maple glaze thighs available, but we suggest that you keep things simple with the half chicken with spring slaw, triple-cooked fries, and house pickles. Seeing as this spot directly overlooks the Thames, a couple of Brambles in the sunshine alongside their juicy chicken won’t hurt either.
We really like this Portuguese chicken spot in Southwark. We also sometimes like to refer to it as ‘not not Nandos’. Dedicated to the cultural icon that is piri piri chicken, this light and breezy restaurant has got all the flavours of everyone’s favourite chicken chain without the questionable presence of a refillable drink machine. When it comes to the all important sides, you can expect batatas fritas, African rice, and our vegetable ride-or-die, corn on the cob, as well as plenty of mezcal and tequila cocktails. In case they’re booked out due to The Great British Chicken Renaissance (yes, we’re really trying to make that a thing) know that they also have a spot in Shoreditch, complete with a big summer terrace.
Where there is chicken, there must also be potatoes. That is just a fact of UK life, along with bad summer weather and accepting that you’ll turn into Hulk Hogan everytime you witness someone cut a queue. Cocotte understands this, as not only do they do ultimate chicken soul mate, baby potatoes, they’ve also got mashed potatoes, truffle mash, and fries available. A chilled all day restaurant in Hoxton Square, this place is all about juicy free-range chicken with their signature gravy, and they also do a quarter which makes it a rare find on the buzzing London whole-chicken scene. Yes, we just used the word ‘buzzing’ in relation to roast chicken. Sue us.
Despite the fact that the name of this place reminds us of all the times we were trying to up-sell depressing picnics during the pandemic, we are willing to let that go in the face of good chicken. A Provence-feel French restaurant in Bermondsey’s Tanner Street Park, this place never skimps on the butter and importantly, there’s always rotisserie chicken on their menu. Although prices can be steep, it’s worth it for a proper sit down meal where you can glug herb juice and steadily make your way through crispy new potatoes and a whole corn-fed chicken. Viva la poulet revolución.