Last year, the UK was still partaking in the burger revolution. I couldn’t keep up with the number of restaurants springing up dedicated to burgers, some of which I am still yet to work my way around. Meanwhile, for those that wanted something a little more “clucky”, two and a half years ago, Clockjack opened its doors in London as the first specialist rotisserie chicken restaurant featuring high tech rotisserie ovens.
I recently visited Clockjack on behalf of tastecard to sample review, on a day when I was hot-desking in London and wanted a tasty but healthy lunch which would give me energy for my gym session I had planned for the evening. Clockjack fitted the bill as it’s extremely rare that you find chicken that has been cooked in such a healthy manner.
Clockjack is located on a quiet respite of a road behind the hustle and bustle that is Piccadilly Circus and the onslaught of quirky Soho, in London. The restaurant has a rustic feel of a cool bar with heavy wooden tables and cast iron seating. You could almost think you’d walked into a dive bar, if it weren’t for the large rotisserie ovens with birds greeting you as they slowly rotate. The day I visited was a lovely sunny one – which Clockjack were taking full advantage of by opening their windows so that guests sat by the window could people watch, and passers-by could chicken watch.
The process is as simple as this; the free range chickens are marinated in a herb brine for a minimum of four hours. Following this, the chicken is cooked in the rotisserie oven for one hour. This produces an intensely tender succulent chicken, packed with flavour and none of the guilt of a Friday night chicken box.
As well as delicious chicken on offer, there are fantastic “Befores” – Clockjack’s version of starters – featuring – more chicken. Well if you’re going to dine eating chicken, you may as well go in for the whole hog!
The Buttermilk Chicken Bites are extremely more-ish – and Clockjack have spent a lot of time getting them right. They originally used to serve a mixture of breast and thighs but found thighs to lend itself a lot better to the coating, so scrapped the breast and now only have boneless chicken thighs which I think was a fantastic decision – in my opinion, chicken on the bone is always a lot tastier. As my ex-boss used to say “it’s the part of chicken that does all the work, hence why it’s so tasty!”. The bites are coated in crisp crunchy buttermilk seasoning and sprinkled with rock salt. They are flavoursome, well-seasoned and not at all greasy. I couldn’t stop eating them but I knew I had other dishes to try.
Such as the wings – WOW – the wings. I can’t remember last having wings with such flavour – and the choices were astounding! You have a choice of ordering five or ten wings with one marinade for five and two marinades for ten wings. The glaze options are BBQ, Peri-Peri, Chilli, Korean Angry Wings and Glazed Teriyaki and Pineapple. As I was sampling I decided to choose three flavours – Peri-Peri, Korean Angry Wings and the Teriyaki and Pineapple. If I’m honest I really only wanted to try the Korean Angry Wings to see if they were really as hot as Clockjack proclaimed they were. I’ve never really been a fan of teriyaki but willing to try anything, I conceded that these were actually pretty darn good. I’m a ham and pineapple pizza kind of gal – really I am. A little hint of something sweet with savoury really rocks my boat as there are some great combos out there (pork and apple anyone?). The slightly citrusy tangy sweetness with pineapple really worked and the sprinkle of sesame seeds over the wings was a nice finishing touch. The Peri-Peri wings were slightly chargrilled to give it a slight BBQ taste, a hint of heat which wasn’t overpowering. The piece du resistance, though – was definitely the Korean Angry Wings. Why angry? Well I think that’s down to the sauce, which is super tasty and HOT! I’m not going to lie to you – that sauce was super spicy. Not to the point where you couldn’t enjoy the chicken, I’ve had that kind of hot before and it was not enjoyable. This kind of hot is fiery, tasty, you do feel a slight twinge to your lips, but if you can handle the heat, you will enjoy these.
So, onto the main event. Clockjack have fantastic options for mains depending on how hungry you are and who you’re with. For the lunchers there’s an option of quarter chicken, half chicken with a great selection of side dishes to opt for – I particularly like the lunch offer of quarter chicken and salad for £9.75 (which does qualify using tastecard!) which is super value considering the amazing freshly made salad options available. For those a little more hungry – or groups – you can have a WHOLE chicken which is delivered to your table in all its glory on a stand, which is a real presentation piece. For those not fancying their carving skills being Masterchef worthy, the restaurant will happily carve the bird for the table.
The chicken is extremely satisfying. It’s not overpowering in taste, very tender – almost as if it had been poached and SO healthy. You feel less guilty eating sides such as fries when they are teamed with chicken cooked in such a healthy manner. For me, a quarter chicken feels like the perfect amount of food with a couple of sides.
I must give a special shout-out to the lemonade – which is home-made. Not only is it home-made lemonade, but it’s made BY Clockjack. Daily. On the premises. I think that’s pretty special, as I’m sure that’s a lot of effort, but I know I appreciated how delicious it was, so it’s completely worth it!
Clockjack welcomes a mix of local customers for lunch and the tourism trade. It’s an ideal place for a meal before or after the theatre, being that it is on the cusp of Theatreland, a quick and healthy lunch or a fun alternative restaurant to eat in with friends.
I know where I’ll be going next time I feel like chicken (tonight. Chicken tonight). I’m sorry. I really couldn’t resist…
14 Denman St, London W1D 7HJ
020 7287 5111
*I was invited to dine at Clockjack for the purposes of a tastecard review