A recent Evening Standard article boasted that ‘tooting is officially rooting’, and, as here at the SLB we were particularly pleased with, that “South is not the new East, it’s better”. The Standard aren’t alone in these views and as house/rental prices have slowly pushed the young professionals further from zone 1 new social hubs inevitably start to spring up. Tooting has long been flagged as an up and coming area due in part to its proximity to popular Clapham and Balham, in addition to it being served by the Northern line. For those familiar with the area you will also know that Tooting is home to a good selection of BYO asian restaurants, and the free entry late night venue ‘Tram and Social’, owned by the experts of vintage pub fit outs, the successful Antic Chain (Balham Bowls, Effra Social).
So this brings us to the recent opening of the Chicken Shop in Tooting, could this be proof that it has finally ‘up and come’.
For those unfamiliar with Chicken Shop there’s an existing branch in Kentish Town and it’s owned by the Soho House brand, who along with their upmarket Hotels own both Dirty Burger and Pizza East. Perhaps the choice of Tooting was a gamble but judging by the crowd present at my time of visiting the bets paid off.
The Chicken Shop is a simple concept, so simple in fact they have disposed of menus and instead just have the choices written on a wall…impossible to read from where I was sitting but the waiter on hand was more than happy to talk us through the options. Rotisserie chickens come served as quarter, halve or whole, the latter at a reasonable £14.50. There’s a choice of four sides, again well priced at £4 each, choose from corn on the cob, coleslaw, crinkle cut fries and butter lettuce with avocado.
In the means of, ahem, research I felt it only right to try all of the above. Unfortunately I can’t really narrow down the choices for you as they were all great. Corn comes with the option of melted butter being drizzled over, do not turn this down! We must have been hungry as, along with a whole chicken, two of us managed to polish this all off (we only had 1 portion of chips so I think the low carb ratio helped). In fact we even managed to fit in desert, but then I had been told the apple pie was pretty special, it was. There’s no doubting this was made in house as we were served a slice from a fresh out the oven whole pie, apparently if your lucky enough to get served near the end of the pies life you get whatever’s left!
Verdict – For upmarket fast-food Chicken Shop is a great option, who doesn’t love rotisserie chicken! Your not going to go here for a romantic meal but for simple, quality food, well cooked, in trendy surroundings it’s a go to place. You can also get chicken to go and what’s awesome is anything you don’t eat they are happy to bag up for a cheeky snack later.
And as for Tooting, it can only be a matter of time before it’s accused of gentrification.