Thursday, February 14, 2013

Clockjack Oven, 8th February

As my friend and I remarked afterwards, one of the reasons we enjoyed Clockjack Oven so much is because, for us, chicken is much neglected in a meal out. Given the choice, I'm much more likely to order some lovely beef, or pork belly rather than the poor, plebeian chicken. But, being at a restaurant where there is no choice, we heartily enjoyed giving some attention to the oft-overlooked beast. Now, I know there are chicken-only places popping up all over the place, but apart from Orange Buffalo, which is by no means a restaurant, this is the first I've tried. It has piqued my interest to try some more.

We arrived at 7 and to our delight were seated straight away. This being another no-bookings place (for groups of 5 and under) in Soho, I worried we would be too late to avoid a queue. There were plenty of empty seats but it transpired they were booked up for larger groups already. Barely 20 minutes later and we smugly watched the line at the door appear and grow as we nibbled at complementary vegetable crisps.

Succumbing to a case of 'the polites' we didn't want to appear too greedy in front of each other and ended up under-ordering. Between the four of us we had 14 pieces of chicken, two portions of fries, some coleslaw and a salad, but we all agreed afterwards we could have easily eaten more.

The chicken was juicy and succulent. I was completely enamoured by the sauces and had very few unsauced bites but I made sure to try the chicken on its own, and it held up. I could easily have eaten the bird without any sauce at all and been more than satisfied.




The chicken in pieces is rotisserie chicken that has been marinated in Clockjack's special sauce which perhaps helps to gives it its juiciness - it doesn't really impart a great amount of flavour of itself but maybe brings out the chicken's own taste. A whole bird gets cut into 10 pieces to share, or you can order three or four pieces. We didn't get any of the chicken bites - their version of chicken nuggets but I definitely want to try it on my next visit.

There are four sauces to choose from - ranch, BBQ, chili and caesar. I absolutely loved the ranch and chili sauces. My boyfriend said that it did just taste like the garlic sauce you get in a kebab shop, or the pots you get from Domino's but that is none the worse to me. It was thick and delicious. Likewise the chili sauce which was spicy but not overwhelming - you could easily dunk chips into it all night. The BBQ sauce was a little thin for me, as a dipping sauce, and I must admit I didn't even try the caesar dressing. Something fishy just doesn't appeal to me and my friends who did try it said it was really rather strong.




The fries were great - not skinny shoestrings, not chunky chips but sort of KFC-size. Appropriate really. They were crunchy but had a good potato filling and seasoned well. The coleslaw was also a good version of it. The salad came with three balls of sage and onion stuffing which were a little dry but also tasted quite good. Weirdly it was the most expensive side at 4 quid compared to the fries at 3 pounds. No salad should be more expensive than the fries, even if it does have apple in it (which this did).

As I've said, I haven't tried the other chicken places - Chicken Shop for instance, but I think this place is deserving of being a restaurant in its own right - it's not simply jumping on the bandwagon of doing a no-choice menu. Or maybe it is, but it's doing it so well and at such reasonable prices that I can only wish them well.

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Find the menu & restaurant information on Zomato

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.