“This,” I announced to the Robert, the head chef of Clockjack Oven, Soho, after two glasses of wine and a faceful of its signature rotisserie chicken, “is the wettest bird I’ve ever had.”
By ‘wet’, of course, I meant ‘tender, succulent and oozing with all the best kinds of meaty juices’. He looked sort of appalled and pleased at the same time though, so I know he knew what I was talking about.
I’d popped along to Clockjack’s new menu launch event, even though the only thing it sells is chicken and I have a rule never to order chicken in a restaurant because I can make it at home. It just ain’t all that. Bung a sweet potato in the microwave, wilt a pile of rocket into sludgy, steaming oblivion and throw a piece of chicken under the grill and voila.
How wrong can you be? Turns out there’s actually a way to make chicken as delicious as beef, and that’s to shove a metal stick from nads to neck and roast the bugger vertically.
“It roasts the bird much more tenderly,” said Robert, “And it’s actually much more hygienic. This way the juices from the raw birds aren’t dripping down onto the cooked meat.” He wasn’t wrong – and have you ever actually noticed how much these things drip? Shit-loads, is the answer. A pool of sticky brown chook-juice glistened in the bottom of the oven.
But here’s the thing: nobody else in Europe has one. Everyone else is doing it horizontally. Apparently the kit is ruinously expensive, or something, it has to be imported from the USA.
So the party was actually for its new summer menu, which is a bunch of healthsome salads playing trusty sidekick to the ‘Oven’s signature chicken, which is free-range and arrives fresh from Brittany every day. They’re running a salad bar, actually, so you don’t even have to pick just one.
I’m not usually one for wine lists – I’ll have the third cheapest please, it’s always a winner – but Clockjack has really gone out of its way to do unusual things with its booze menu, which is unusual at such a low price point (a meal without drinks costs £10-15). The list is small but perfectly formed, including more unusual wines and a carefully chosen selection of London-made and international craft beers.
The final verdict? Beats the shit out of Nando’s, if I’m honest.
Clockjack Oven can be found at the south end of Soho, near Piccadilly Circus, at 14 Denman St, W1D 7HJ. They are also bringing in big screens for the World Cup, so if you’re planning on watching the game this summer it’s a great choice if you want something a little healthier to gorge on. (That said, the buttermilk chicken bites are marvellous. Perhaps sprinkle them on a spinach and butternut squash salad?)
Oooh, and they do takeaway too:
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in East London and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.