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Review: Clutch Chicken

Saturday 21 June 2014

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Words Spindle

You can spot this place a mile off, bang in the heart of Hackney (just off the Hackney road) from the bright yellow building (unmissable even for a blind bat like me!) evoking an oversized hen house. I could tell this place was going to be cool from the get go. We were booked for dinner but you can also come for brunch and lunch. The interior is fun but also quite romantic, perfect for an evening a deux, with its mix of rustic wooden tables, candles on tables, playful memo chalk boards and oversized, overhead lights, emitting a flatteringly dimmed light. But you still get a great view into the kitchen so you can see all the action (always a good sign in my opinion).

We were early and politely ushered through to the back bar while our table was prepared. Lucky for us as the bar is stunning, a tad more sophisticated than the rest of Clutch and well worth a visit, just for drinks. They do a happy hour between 6-8 pm on a selection of cocktails, I went for the ‘Daisy Lowe’ fruity Vodka based cocktail and my boyfriend went for the ‘Sour Gobbler’ Bourbon based with bitters, egg white and sugar. Both were delicious.

cocktails clutch

Onto eat, our waitress gave us a helpful low-down of the menu. Truly chicken heaven (not great for veggies although you can pre order a veggie meal if needs be).  But the best thing about Clutch though is its foodie philosophy and practice – all hens and eggs are from free range rare breed poultry and ethically sourced, so you know that everything on your plate has had a good life – much better for your conscience. No battery hen hell here as with some the other bigger, better known chicken factories (whoops! I mean restaurants). It’s also healthier than most as the food fried in the finest grade groundnut oil so no saturated fat! See, healthy fried chicken is possible.

We went for the ‘Happy Hen’ half a bucket of Sweet soy and Garlic chicken pieces (about three large pieces) for £12, ‘Love Me Tenders’ in Curry Leaf and Sesame flavour (battered chicken breast pieces for £11) and ‘Put a wing On It’ Sour and Spicy chicken wings (about 12 wings for £12). To accompany our feast we had a side of Beets with Parsley Pistachio pesto and Mozzarella (£4) and some chips (£4). We also ‘got saucy’ and had some Clutch Chicken Gravy (£1) and some Whipped Feta (£1). We definitely went a bit crazy (all in the name of a thorough review) and I would say you don’t need to order this much for two people. I would suggest two chicken dishes, two sides and one sauce is more than enough. Unless you’re going for a blow-out.

chicken wings clutch

And my verdict (and my other half’s too)…

Clucks all round – every dish was AMAZING! And service was super quick, with a smile.

The ‘Happy Hen’ half a bucket of chicken shows a whole new side to a bucket of chicken which I am sure for most of us normal means a greasy family bucket from KFC! Never again. The Groundnut oil leaves the chicken beautifully crispy on the outside with a subtle nutty flavour but lovely and moist on the inside and is seasoned to perfection with soy and garlic. The ‘Love Me Tenders’ was crispy with a yummy curry flavour and sprinkled with sesame seeds, nice generous portion!  Dipped in the gravy were simply heavenly.

clutch chips

The Sour and Spicy chicken wings were delicious; they came smothered in an authentic spicy sauce – warning they are pretty hot so only for spice lovers! Although a little tip dipped in the feta sauce cools them right down. Another warning extremely messy to eat so maybe avoid these if you are going on a first date!

The beetroot side compliments the chicken dishes adding a fresh vibrant flavour. Thumbs up on the chips too, thin and crispy – just how I like them!

Overall I absolutely loved this place, I would recommend it to anyone, and great for group dinners too as the dishes are perfect for sharing. The one tiny criticism I would give they only have one option of ‘Sweet Beak Brownie’ for desert but I was so full with chicken by this point I was happy to skip pudding!

Find out more on their website

Words: Heidi Bland