Dirty Burger - Chicken Shop, London
Nick Jones has done it again. Not content with founding the Soho House Group and opening such notable establishments as Dean Street Townhouse, he's continuing to show how fast food should be done following the success of Chicken Shop (see our earlier blog) and Dirty Burger.
Enter lucky Whitechapel where burger meets chicken.
He has picked a cracking venue. A former home for naval officers (note little ships on the façade), this Grade II listed building has lots of character and dates from 1695.
The huge gated entrance makes a powerful first impression, covered in graffiti it also has an urban edge worthy of it's context. Cleverly (and cost effectively) the restaurant signage is also sprayed on. An understated nod to branding that just makes the place, well, cooler. Exterior lighting is confined to the gatehouse lantern and casually strewn canopy lights. You’ve got to applaud their insouciance.
The space is a treat itself. High ceilings, iron columns, exposed brick and painted breezeblock walls all combine to make you feel like you are in Williamsburg, not Whitechapel. Accentuated by more casually slung canopy lights, exposed ductwork and huge industrial pendants, the ceiling is also lined with acoustic panels –adding more texture and cleverly allowing you to hear your dining companions above the buzzy atmopshere.
Still, who wants to talk when there are burgers AND chicken on offer?! The menu is simple, as is it’s presentation. Printed on to a wall and injected with some humour (vegeterians are dared to order the Dirty Cop Out Burger) it means covers are turned quickly.
The kitchen pass is open and long, with a waiter station flanked on either side by bar level dining. The rotisserie chicken becomes a focal point - forlonly watched by a ceramic cockerel. These pop up around the room and add a fun touch of kitcsch.
The bar top is warm character oak with plush leather upholstered stools. Another dining bar runs underneath the menu wall to maximise covers, totalling 60. Surface mounted galvanised socket boxes mean you don’t run out of juice before tweeting your cool surroundings.
At the far end is the small bar offering beer, wine or limited cocktails. The bar front houses numerous records and diners are welcome to pick out favourites and play them. Nice touch Jonesey.
Black and white checkerboard vinyl floor tiles add to the downtown diner feel and a large display wall houses crates, gherkin tins and the like – whilst also providing further service points.
Furniture is simple - red laminate topped 2’s and 4’s with galvanised edge trims and 6’s are sat on lacquered chipboard benches.
Toilets are clad in reclaimed timber and discreetly signed. Inside they are simple. More reclaim, industrial bulkheads and enamelled wall mounted basins.
The food is served in the ubiquitous Falconware and branding is found on the burger wrapper and chicken sauces only. The food is every bit as good as it calorific. Get involved.