Yep I know, the London fried chicken boom is so 2014-and-late, but new openings still seem to be cropping up all over town. Not many of them seem to open in the mornings however (and I mean brunchtime in the morning, not the wee early hours) so I thought I’d share the tale of a recent tasty brunch at Clutch Chicken.
It was probably the last day of this year that you could still say ‘winter is coming’ instead of the current ‘winter is here’. It’s a bit of a trek to get here being tucked away down a backstreet in the only-overground-or-bus-served netherlands of East London, but you can’t help doing a double-take when you spot the bright yellow building sitting on this otherwise fairly drab street.
I was catching up with my old housemate Miss K who had already taken advantage of the unseasonably late sunshine and was sitting outside on their astro-turf covered front terrace. Yes, that’s bright green springy astro-turf with white patio furniture. I joined her, slightly bemused by the setting, and we committed to the outdoor seating whatever the weather brought for the rest of the meal (turns out it brought some particularly gusty bouts of wind but that kept things interesting!).
Miss K led me astray by ordering a cocktail, so I followed suit with a mimosa (yes this is possibly why I’m friends with her). The pun-filled drinks menu raised a smile, and as if the bright yellow building and astro-turf weren’t a big enough hint, it showed that this place has a quirky sense of humour. The waiter unsurprisingly approved of our alcoholic orders before midday; both he and the guy who looked after us later spoke to us like we were their mates, which was actually strangely endearing here when usually it makes me cringe.
I could have happily ordered anything from the compact brunch menu, so ended up just ordering the soul food classic at the top of the list – chicken and waffles! These were delicious; a generous amount of well-seasoned buttermilk chicken, nicely-cooked turkey bacon and pancake waffles that were light and not too dense. The clincher was the homemade bourbon syrup, which had a nice edge to it and wasn’t overly sweet. It certainly stacked up well (also literally ha) versus other chicken and waffles dishes I’ve tried in London.
Miss K is a big fan of the chicken (past guilty pleasures may include 3am visits to the chicken shop round the corner on the way home from a night out) and decided to Wing It with the sour and spicy chilli wings, as well as adding a side of avocado (she likes being unexpected). She claims she forgot to specify 6 wings and they slightly naughtily assumed 12; she did look daunted initially when the 12 arrived but somehow found room to polish them all off though…
To be fair to her this was over a good couple of hours as we ended up leisurely nattering the time away without feeling like we were being rushed in the slightest. Eventually the gathering clouds told us it might be time to move – and sure enough it started raining on cue as soon as I’d walked around the corner. Well done to the sensible peeps arriving after us who sat inside.
This has to be one of the most gentrified (or should I say gentri-fried?!) ways to get your fried chicken fix in East London and let’s face it the £12-13 price tag for a main course of chicken and waffles is steep. The quirky touches and easygoing service do their best to make it feel hipsterly reasonable, and judging by the packed-out weekend brunch tables they seem to be succeeding. I’d advise booking ahead for inside unless you want to freeze outside in this weather though!
4 Ravenscroft St, London E2 7QG, brunch served at weekends only