Eat Here: Clutch Chicken, HoxtonBy Jamie Blackburn
It’s been a while since we last visited Clutch Chicken and we certainly won’t be leaving it that long again. The new facelift is impressive and their self-proclaimed ‘guilt-free’ fried chicken certainly still delivers. This said, I’m not sure how guilt-free we felt at the end of the night considering the vast quantities of food and drink consumed. You could say that this serves as an affirmation towards the standard of the new food and drinks menu which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Before we go into detail around the venue and our highlights from the menu, we have to give a special mention to Ruby, our waitress, who really looked after us throughout the evening. This may well have been affordable dining but the attention to detail, explanation, depth of knowledge around the menu, and general customer service was first class.
Clutch: The Run-Down
As you may or may not know, Clutch Chicken was founded by Anthony Ussher with a little help from his brother, Michelin Star chef Ian, and their two cousins, making the restaurant a true family enterprise and explains why it’s always had that family feeling, even since their inception back in 2013. The location is unique in that it sits in the heart of a small manor in Haggerstown, where’d you probably expect to find a community centre. You can tell that the clientele consists of as many regulars as it does new faces, just as a community should.
The refurbished back bar now serves as a fully-fledged extension of the restaurant and looks amazing. It could easily have been plucked out of NYC and be a standalone drinks venue. The cocktails were superb and the fact you can also eat fried chicken right there alongside them means that dreams really can come true. The food and drinks menus have been cleverly named and any lovers of 90s/00s hip-hop will notice some firm favourites amongst them (our favourites from the cocktails being the Negroni Wit Attitude and M.E.T.H.O.D Manhattan). We started with the signature Hot and Wet which, with the chilli infusion, made us exactly that. We also sampled the B.Humble which rocked our world (not that there was any room for any MJ pop puns in there).
Food wise we started with the kimchi (refreshing) and jalapeño cornbread alongside the jerk chicken croquettes and the vegan KFC (brined cauliflower fried in a tempura batter and then dipped in black vinegar and mirin sauce). Whilst we know the latter two are at very different ends of the dietary spectrum, we honestly couldn’t choose between them. We easily could’ve eaten the croquettes for days: the texture was on point and accompanied by the banana ketchup (yup, you heard correctly) they were absolutely faultless. The KFC, on the other hand, was almost enough to turn two carnivores vegan…well, for a full two and a half minutes anyway.
The ‘Buns Hun’ chicken burger is a solid classic done well and they managed to get the chicken to batter ratio, which is always a bugbear for us, spot on. The Naga fire wings were tasty and flavoursome but, for us, lacked the fire aspect and just made it too difficult for me to incorporate a ‘drop it like it’s hot’ into my write up (wait…hold on). Feeling like our stomachs were approaching fullness, and knowing there was banoffee pie on the menu, we still had to sample the much-loved chicken (thighs and tenders in a buttermilk, parmesan or soy glaze), creamy mash, and their much-hyped gravy. It was comfort food as strong as it’s ever been, an easy and extremely satisfying choice for the fussy/less adventurous eaters out there.
In the spirit of the new menu and its musical influences, all we need to say on the final course, in the presence of a self-proclaimed banoffee pie expert (*and sung in best Afroman, ‘because I got high’ voice/tune ) is …
‘If you gonna get just one desert, get banoffee pie’
‘If you ate too much chicken and yo belly hurt, get banoffee pie’
‘We had a big fat smile on our faces and we know whhyyy’
‘Banoffee pie, banoffee pie, banoffee pieee.’
Well done guys, cracking new menu and new look for the venue, fantastic drinks and the chicken still very much has a place in our hearts…and bellies.
For more information on Clutch Chicken, see here.
4 Ravenscroft St, London E2 7QG