There’s something strangely comforting about roast chicken. It evokes memories of family meals and lazy afternoons. It’s not just a british tradition either – the French know the value of a good rotisserie and so, it turns out, do the Lebanese.
Within spitting difference of Oxford Street there’s a bold newcomer to the Soho restaurant scene. Cookhouse Joe is run by the same people as Soho Joe and it follows a similar vein – great quality, simple dishes, fun atmosphere and excellent value.
The meal started with some lovely pickles while we looked over the menu before deciding to eat, well, everything. First up was a moutabal – smokey grilled aubergine paste with some lovely warm flatbreads. Sweet, smooth and very more-ish.
Fresh off the grill – some gorgeous halloumi came next. I’m not normally a fan, but this was really good with a lovely char. Closely followed by some sticky chicken wings and a delicious lamb kofta – I adored the tabbouleh: light, fresh and wonderfully delicate. Perfect.
Some home-made falafels and tahini followed – well cooked and with a lovely spice. But it was all a build up to the main event. Superb roast chicken (free range from the west country you’ll be happy to hear). Plump, juicy and with a lovely skin it’s everything a roasted chicken should be. It comes with a choice of three sauces – lovely tomatoey chilli, garlic mayo or a cucumber/mint. The chips were fine but could do with more spice, but the coleslaw is great.
At this point I admit we were struggling – but i’m a complete sucker for anything with apple and I couldn’t turn down the chance for their home-made apple pie. It’s literally made by the owners mother and the dear woman knows what she’s doing. Rich, crumbly pastry generously filled with sweet caramelised apples and just a hint of cinnamon. Heaven.
The restaurant is new – they’ve only been open five weeks – but the service was excellent, the decor is your classic exposed brick warehouse and vintage wood (they get bonus points for using an old coffee tin as a wine cooler). They’re clearly passionate about their concept and it works – my only criticism would be the volume of flatbreads and the lack of a simple set menu – when the variety is so good having an easy ‘bring me lots’ option is the obvious choice.
The food was delicious and perfect for sharing. I applaud them for making nearly everything themselves – it’s food with real soul. Grab some mates, bag a table and munch on some top grub in a great location without breaking the bank.