A clucking good meal and other eggcellent puns | Whyte & Brown, Kingly Court, London W1B 5PW
As you well know, or at least you should, Saff and I are a food blogging husband and wife team. But on this occasion I dined out with my old boss and friend, Sam, whom I hadn’t seen for over seven months. The only reason I mention this is that when we get chatting, neither of us pause for breath. And we had a lot of catching up to do! We had to feel sorry for our cheerful waitress, three times she came over to take our order and three times we had to ask for another 10 minutes.
The kitchen is headed up by Paul Fletcher, his menu kicks off with the puntastic question ‘feeling peckish?’ Whyte & Brown is after all a restaurant dedicated to all things chicken and egg. But there’s no dirty deep-fried chicken here, it’s all free range and very grown up. The restaurant was relatively full and considering it only hatched in July, there seemed to be a steady flow of customers.
And for once my attention was taken away from my usual obsession with restaurant interiors (most of which Saff edits out of our posts anyway). From memory (I usually make notes) the decor was still industrial but nowhere near as edgy as, say, Spuntino. One thing that stuck in my mind were the unisex toilets, loved the massive trough sink and exposed copper piping, not quite up to standard of Nosh & Chow‘s loo though.
In fact the whole restaurant seemed to have a slightly more refined, maybe even feminine feel. This isn’t somewhere I can imagine a to find a huge group of lads sat around a table drinking beer. That said their beer selection is very good – ‘Their free-range thinking applies liberally to their choice of beers’. They favour ‘independent specialists, artisans & pioneers’, apparently!
Now Saff and I usually start with a cocktail, you can get a relatively good idea how the meal will be from the amount of skill and effort put into mixing a good drink. But my dinner date was happy to go straight on to the red stuff so I didn’t get the chance to try any of mixologist Ryan Chetiyawardana‘s creations. After a quickly resolved slight corking problem our bottle of Douro Adega, £21.45 from the Douro Valley, Portugal was full-bodied, fruity and gone in minutes.
Eventually we decided on a couple of starters. Half a Dozen Croquette Balls £5.45, shredded chicken and pancetta, chives, lemon and a hint of béchamel, fried and served with a smoky tomato sauce. These little crispy coated, soft-centred balls were deceptively filling so an idea sharing dish – especially as there are six of them, it’s always a little awkward when sharing a starter with an odd number of items!
The strange concept of a Bangkok-Scotch Egg £6.25, has had some mixed reviews. We both really enjoyed it – minced chicken thigh-meat mixed with a subtle hit of lime leaf, coriander, mint, lemon grass, chilli and ginger. The deep yellow soft-boiled yolk dripping almost seductively on to the pickled cucumber salad. The light minced chicken was a little confusing on the taste buds especially when you’ve been conditioned to expect a more dense meat.
Sam decided to go simple and order the Brick Chicken with W&B signature seasoning £12.95. This was like the best Sunday roast chicken and then some. This process of cooking is a traditional Tuscan technique designed to give a crisp skin and moist flesh inside. Literally the chicken is roasted under a brick, a simple procedure with great results. The lemon, thyme and garlic added that familiar, comforting flavour to the slow-cooked half chicken.
I on the other hand, went Greek and ordered the Two-Ways Chicken Souvlaki £12.95. This chargrilled, marinated breast kebab was well cooked, maybe a little dry compared to the thigh confit. Luckily the fresh and cooling tzatziki was there to add some moistness. The warm pitta bread perhaps was a carb too far, and I was so full I didn’t even make a dent in the feta and olive salad with tomatoes.
We also had sides of Hand-cut & twice-cooked rustic chips £3.25 and Heritage Tomato Salad £3.95. Both were good but the salad was maybe a little over priced, it was after all only a small bowl of tomatoes.
As our conversation raced from subject to subject, the topic finally turned to dessert. The waitress recommended the Beyond-Eton-Mess £5.45, layers of fresh berries, crushed raspberry ripple meringue, popping candy and a fresh zesty lemon posset. She told me to be aware of the popping candy as once a piece jumped up and hit her straight in the eye. It’s quite hardcore stuff – like a firework going off in your mouth.
Sam went for the Proper Ice Cream with Jug of Chocolate Sauce £4.95 for three scoops. All flavours are all ‘locally, sustainably, naturally, artisan-made.’ Sam had Lemon Curd ice cream, Strawberry Sorbet and Blood Orange Sorbet, nothing had a standout flavour, she loved them all. She totally forgot about the jug of chocolate that had congealed into a gloopy lump, not really sure if it would have gone with her choice of flavours anyway.
If you can ignore my chicken in a basketful of puns and if you’re in or around Carnaby Street you could do much, much worse than pop in for eggcellent service and a couple of clucking good dishes.
Kingly Court, Carnaby, London, W1B 5PW.
Monday to Friday 8am – 11pm
Saturday 9.30am – 11pm
Sunday 10am – 6pm
Phone: 0203 747 9820