North London has gone all hipster on us. The opening of Pizza East’s underground Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger are putting Kentish Town on the scenesters’ map. The only thing that will give the game away that you’re not actually in East London is the clientele – lots of families and the Guardian reading intellectuals that inhabit the townhouses of Tufnell Park, in fact I felt a bit awkward not having brought my parents with me. Instead I brought my rather attractive 24 year old female friend, who I’m going to blame for the more than slightly overbearing service.
It was almost American. The waiter came over to our table at every possible opportunity. Also, I was amazed (perhaps disappointed) that I managed to get a table the minute I walked into the place (7.30pm on a Tuesday). I have become so accustomed to queuing at ‘no reservations’ joints that I arrive well in advance of my hunger kicking in. But that’s not really a legitimate complaint and so I’ll move on to the chicken.
I was certainly a little premature to say it all sounded a bit like Nando’s in my last blog on the Chicken Shop. It is much better than Nando’s (of course). In fact, the food is quite good. I can’t fault it. They do sauces well, providing smokey and hot sauce. Hot sauce so hot that my said attractive female friend couldn’t hack it and she’s a bit of a hot sauce demon (ask the staff at Benito’s Hat). They also bring you some garlic mayo to go with the nice crinkly cooked to perfection chips you can get on the side. So yes, good food.
However there are limits to how excited I could ever get about chicken – it fails to compete with the salivating joy of red meat which has left us a city obsessed with burgers. Thankfully, Dirty Burger is right round the corner for your trendy North London burger needs.