There is a certain amount of hype going on at the moment about chicken! …Whether it be steamed, spit roasted or deep fried, it seems that a number of small places are trying out a whole range of different techniques.
Yesterday I decided to make a lunchtime trip to Clockjack Oven on Denman Street in Soho. As you may have guessed Clockjack have gone for a traditional method of cooking chicken on a…clock jack!
Clockjack opened up in December so it’s had a couple of months to find it’s feet and looks like it might have already made a few changes. We arrived at just gone 2pm (late lunch) and the place was relatively quiet, only three other tables were occupied. Relief, as I was starving (as normal!).
The place is simple, clean and neutral. Open brick wall on one side with a long bar area with seating on the other. There are two clock jacks behind the bar so you can see the chickens being cooked on open flame, quite a nice touch. This is definitely not what you might consider most chicken places to be like. I am not sure about you, but if someone was talking to me about roasted/fried chicken I would conjure up a picture of some fast food place such as KFC or some greasy high street food chain. Bright colours, neon lights, grease. Therefore, Clockjack is a refreshing change for my mental health!
The waitress came straight over to us and sat us at a table for two running down one side of the restaurant. Fresh tap water was then brought over to us which was a nice touch as we hadn’t even ordered any. Vegetable fries were put on the table as well. My favourite is the beetroot. In my opinion you should be able to buy packets of just beetroot in the supermarket. These are on the menu at £2.45 but appeared to be complimentary.
Like the interior the menu is simple. The chicken is organic and is from Brittany. I guess there must be some particular reason as to why they choose to source them from here, it does not say why on the menu despite giving a small blurb. Are organic English chickens an inferior bird? They also have fields to roam in, are fed on high quality cereals, are slow growing and can get pretty big, oui?
I went for 3 pieces of chicken whilst my friend went for the ‘Clockjack Torpedo’, crispy chicken bites in a soft buttermilk bun with lettuce, drenched in your choice of sauce. Fries to share. Of course. We didn’t have to wait long for the food. The presentation of the Torpedo was good though the sauce looked pretty artificial in colour. My chicken didn’t look the most appetising, but then I can fully appreciate that trying to arrange 3 pieces of chicken nicely on a plate might be somewhat of a task!
My friend loved his mini chicken bites, it didn’t seem to touch the sides, I managed to swipe one piece before it alldisappeared and thought that the batter had a pretty good crunch to it and the chicken was still nice and moist inside. My chicken was nice. But nice is the word that I would use. I wasn’t bowled over by it but then again they are not the type of place that are trying to be all singing all dancing. They are keeping things simple and playing it safe. Therefore my simple summary. The skin was crispy but could have been crispier. The chicken was moist but could have been more juicy. The sauces were again nice though the bbq was really runny and didn’t really hold to the chips. The fries were crispy and fluffy on the inside.
Clockjack is all about unfussy dining and it does just that.
Star rating 4/10