Review of 'Cookhouse Joe'

Supposedly “the best chicken in London” but, sorry to say, we left disappointed. Visiting with four people on a Thursday (early) evening we were put in the dimly lit upstairs (up quite a narrow, dirty, staircase) where they had seated most groups. The ground floor has a bar on the left, with tables and the rotisserie cooking the chickens at the back. Arriving before our two additional companions we attempted to read the dark menus without any light, resorting to our mobile phones to provide some clarity.

The menu (from what we could make out) highlights their chicken which is available whole (£15 with 3 sauces), half (£8 with 2 sauces) and quarter (£5 with 1 sauce) then it featured various burgers (lamb, falafel, Wagyu steak, and Aberdeen Angus steak), salads (chicken, falafel and halloumi) as well as a large assortment of sides (between £3 and £6 each). The flip side of the menu is the drinks which features the normal suspects. The prices looked reasonable.

When we were all together the waitress recommended that we go for the “set menu” for our group of four which was £17 each that included all of the sides and a whole chicken that would be delivered to the table over the course of the evening…Would that we had heeded this somewhat harbinger of what was to come. For a group of us the set menu seemed like a great option as it saved having to pick over the (unreadable) menu ourselves.

Our drinks were delivered to the table after a bit of time and it was nice to see a jug of (warm) tap water brought without our asking. The music was LOUD so conversation was difficult which turned out not to be so good as we had a LOT of time to talk while the dishes came…or didn't come, as was often the case, to the table.

Over the next few hours the starters arrived in fits and starts (several tables got all of their food and were gone well before we saw our main course of chicken). First up was “Kabis” (mixed pickles and olives; £3) which was incredibly sour with no nuance of flavour despite the collection of peppers, olives and pickles.

Kabis

Eight minutes later chicken wings arrived (£6) with garlic sauce that were quite tasty if not entirely inspiring. The garlic sauce was particularly garlicy…

Chicken Wings

At the same time char grilled Halloumi (£6) arrived which was probably the star of the show with a firm texture and smoky flavour.

 Halloumi

The Houmous (£5) was ok but lacked any real amount of flavour.

Houmous

There followed a pause in the evening of about 30 minutes during which time we looked anxiously around but were ignored by our server (though when cornered they assured us our food was coming). Our next dish showed up: Moutabal (£5; grilled aubergine purée) which was quite good but heavy on the herbs which overpowered any flavour from the aubergine.

Moutabal

The Falafel (£6 with tehine dip) was OK: Quite dry though nicely spiced.

Falafel

“Corn on the cob” (£3.5, cooked on the char grill and served with butter) was surprisingly good though quite small pieces. Shame we had to wait another thirty minutes for it.

Corn on the Cob

Finally, the star of the show arrived: The chicken. This was served with two sauces (“Joe's chilli” and “cucumber & mint”). Sadly, for their signature dish I was underwhelmed. The chicken was slightly dry and did not really taste of the grill (!). The sauces were bland to the max and added little to the dish. The fries (£3) side were OK for fries coming straight out of a freezer packet.

Chicken!

The coleslaw (£3) was lacking any amount of flavour, basically raw cabbage with a white, flavourless, sauce. Might as well have just shredded some cabbage and left the sauce out for all it added.

Coleslaw

An odd side salad accompanied the chicken which continued the flavourless evening with some rather unusual triangular (pita) croutons. But, to be honest, I can't really remember it too much so only have the picture to remember it by (certainly nothing else).

Salad

So we figure it took about an hour and a half from ordering to receiving everything with long periods of nothing on the table and difficult conversation over the loud music (and other, rather rambunctious, diners with only the hard surfaces of the decor - wood tables, wood chairs, wood floor, bare walls - making everything very loud). It would have been better had the staff shown any interest in us but seemed far more interested in the other diners and simply telling us “it was coming” on our numerous attempts to get something to eat…No tip was included in the bill and, frustrated and disappointed, we did not add any.

For a chicken place the chicken disappoints but some of the sides were OK. I can't say it would be on my list of chicken places to visit in the city, I think I might, horror of horrors, visit KFC instead.

Rating:

Review Date: 2019-02-07


Cuisine: American/British

Address: 55 Berwick St, London W1F 8SP ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Tottenham Court Road TUBE Oxford Circus

Location: London (England) - Soho

Map:

 

Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 7970 555355

URL: http://www.cookhousejoe.com/