Chicken Kitchen- Does this New West London Spot live up to its buzz?

I’ve heard a whole lot about Chicken Kitchen. Especially pertaining to their popularity and their infamous dumpling burger. Located in West London, just a short distance away from Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Chicken Kitchen is situated on the quieter Goldhawk Road. I paid them a visit to find out whether this new raved about restaurant lives up to its buzz. Read on for my super honest review.First Impressions

I spontaneously decided to take the trip down to have my first Chicken Kitchen experience on a quiet Sunday evening; or so I thought.

On driving past the restaurant, I was alarmed by the amount of people both outside and inside. (The day I decide to come out looking the worst I could possibly look might I add.) This may be a good or bad thing to you depending on how you look at it. Clearly, the restaurant is super popular and it must be for a reason right? In the same breath and without sounding pretentious, I’m not the biggest fan of hyper popular places where I may run into the whole world. I usually stay well away.

After parking up and venturing in, I wasn’t super impressed with the atmosphere inside. It’s far too small and busy to eat-in comfortably. Despite having seats, I promptly changed my eat in review trip to a take away run.

The decor inside is humble with open bricks and tones of red which are consistent with their theme.

There were no visible menus and an extremely long queue. The crowd seemed to be a blend of those who had ordered and those waiting to order. I was quite confused at first but managed to locate the queue and a worse for wear menu on a clipboard towards the front.

Service

The choices on the menu looked great and were very reasonably priced. After waiting about 15 minutes to be served and after running into a couple of people, I placed my order.

The service was unmoving to say the least. I can imagine that with such a busy restaurant, it must be difficult to be cheery consistently throughout the day but the service I received was very cold and not what I would expect from good service.

The shop at the moment also only takes card which is inconvenient and as I rarely carry cash, I had to cap my order at £25 which is a shame because I had intended to buy everything to try. As well as the long wait to be served, I had another 25 minutes wait for my food.

This wasn’t a huge deal to me, it was very clear that the food was made fresh and this comes at the cost of waiting. I also loved the fact that food was made so you could see. I patiently waited in my car as by now even more people had entered the restaurant and the noise levels began to rocket. I ordered the fried dumpling burger with jerk chicken and cheese and one with fried chicken and cheese as well as the wing roulette which came with jerk, fried and barbecue wings. I also got an additional burger for my mom and a bottle of their fruit punch. These were the items recommended to me from more or less everyone and what initially attracted me to the restaurant.

The staff called out the numbers of the orders but as I was outside I had to sort of scurry to the front to check. When my order was eventually called, it was missing the wings which I noticed once I sat in my car, so made the awkward walk back to the shop and to the front which was quickly rectified.

The Food.

Let’s get onto the actual food.

I tried the fried chicken dumpling burger first and all I can say is wow. It’s such a simple invention but it works so well. The dumplings are a little sweet and moreish whilst the way they shape and fry the dumplings stop them from being just chicken and a dumpling.

This was really a hit for me and I had to force myself to stop eating it so I could make my way home. Despite the burger not looking the most glamorous, it was super tasty and simple.

The fruit punch was gorgeous too but a word of warning, it’s very on the sweet side. It was a tiny bit too sweet for my liking because I’ve cut out sugar but the mix was gorgeous. I would definitely throw a few shots of rum in there which would balance out the sweet like a dream.

The wings roulette was also delicious. All the wings were flavourful, my favourite being the fried wings surprisingly. The bbq wings would have been my favourite but were overdone for me which could have been a minor oversight. The char (see pictures below) distracted away from the bbq flavour but oddly enough I could taste their potential.

Finally I tried the jerk burger too and this topped the fried chicken burger for me. The chicken was succulent and well seasoned.

Final thoughts.

I can definitely see why this spot is so popular. Whilst I think there are a lot of minor improvements to make, I have to commend them and appreciate the fact that they are fairly new.

I think in the coming months, the brand will grow into their strengths and really perfect their craft. At present they have the innovation and customer base so I’d love to see improvements made to their staff’s customer service, their wait times and queue management, and their general restaurant atmosphere.

I hope to see the restaurant implement something digital to manage ordering especially. When you look at the customer journey from start to end, 40 minutes is a long time to wait.

I wouldn’t recommend this as a place to eat in but I would recommend a visit for takeaway if you have time on your hands. I would definitely suggest everyone try them especially for the dumpling burger. I really enjoyed my meal and would buy from them again. The dumpling burger really is a must try. You can check them out on instagram @chickenkitchenuk and http://www.chickenkitchenuk.com

I hope you found this review insightful and as always, no matter what review I do, I will always be 100% honest and transparent.

The Food Doll.

Delicious & Easy Pepper Steak Recipe.

Pepper steak is one of the most delicious, yet lesser known signature dishes to come out the Caribbean. West Indian cuisine tends to favour red meat in their dishes, from oxtail to curry goat.

I adore this dish because of how easy it is to make and how well it keeps for meal prep. I actually find it tastes even better the day after as the flavour truly permeates the steak. It’s also one of the quickest dishes to make which suits the working person.

I hadn’t planned to do a recipe post for this. I had only planned to do a tutorial but on my soon to be released YouTube channel (subscribe so you are the first to see my first video once it goes up!), but I was asked so many times, it was only right.

I’ll also be showing a live tutorial of this recipe with some luxurious additions at What’s New Pop Up: Food, on the 11th February which you do not want to miss. Use my code FOODDOLL10 to receive 10% off the final release tickets here:

Ingredients:

  • Steak- pre cut strips or any tender cut such as sirloin, flank etc. 900g
  • 2-3 Bell Peppers- various colours sliced
  • Scotch Bonnet- ½ chopped, de-seeded
  • Soy Sauce- 2 tablespoon
  • Olive Oil- to coat pan
  • Garlic- 1 crushed
  • Crushed black peppercorns- enough to coat
  • Pimento- 5
  • Everyday or oxtail seasoning- 1 tablespoon
  • Black pepper- ½ teaspoon
  • Thyme- 3 fresh sprigs or one teaspoon
  • Stock cube- 1 beef flavoured
  • Honey- 1 tablespoon
  • Onion- 1 small sliced thinly
  • Scallion- 1 diced

Method.

1.    First combine the sliced steak with half of the garlic, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, the seasoning, black pepper, pimento and half of the thyme. Rub this in thoroughly.

2.    Place your crushed pepper corns and a little salt on some cling film and coat the slices in the dry coating and leave to marinade for at least 20 minutes.

3.    Heat some olive oil and brown your steak by rotating the pieces periodically. You’ll need to fry it on all sides to lock the flavour in.

4.    Add the remaining chopped onions, scallion, thyme and garlic, followed by the bell peppers about 1 minute after (bell peppers sprout water so will prevent the onions from caramelising properly if put in at the same time)

5.    Add the remaining soy sauce and honey, then combine thoroughly.

6.     Add about half a cup of water, the scotch bonnet, the stock cube and then cover and cook down until the sauce is thick and the meat is tender.

7.    Serve over white rice or a healthier option such as quinoa. You can also leave this to rest then portion this off into containers for meal prep.

The Food Doll.

Healthy Jamaican Protein Banana Fritters.

The smell of banana fritters being fried in the morning by my mother, is a really nostalgic moment for me.

I adore banana fritters and how easy they are to make. They can be prepared the night before and quickly cooked in the morning.

The only problem, (if there ever could be one with them) is that they can be full of sugar and heavy flour and that’s not conducive to our New Years clean eating promise, is it?

In general, I have found some difficult balancing the amazing dishes of my west-Indian culture with my current fitness goals and hope to adapt my most loved dishes without compromising flavour.

On my journey towards fitness and clean eating, the original recipe would need to remain a treat but for other days, I have experimented and developed this recipe.

Read on to see the ingredients and method.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Alpro coconut and almond milk
  • 1/2 cup Oats (gluten free or normal)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Skinny syrup 0 calorie 0 sugar vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Sweet freedom natural fruit syrup
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 2 Over ripened bananas
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder.
  • Protein powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon or all spice (optional)

Method.

1. Mash the ripened bananas in a bowl.

2. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl.

3. Add the remaining ingredients until the consistency is thick enough that it drops slowly of a spoon. (It should be much thicker than that of pancake batter and thick enough that it doesn’t spread much when placed into a pan)

4. In a non stick frying pan, spray done low calorie olive oil spray and fry on a low-medium heat. (You have to be patient with these, try not to move them until they are ready to turn and be very steady with your hand as they are less firm than a normal fritter during the cooking stage)

Enjoy these on their own, or with some chopped fruit and a spoonful of healthy cashew or peanut butter.

The Food Doll.

Caribbean Vegan Curry Recipe.

I think it’s very easy to hear the word vegan and assume that the dishes may be bland or flavourless.

In the Caribbean, we have a particular type of cuisine called Ital food. Derived from the word vitality, it focuses on natural vegan foods that are bursting with flavour.

One of my favourite vegan dishes to make is a Caribbean Vegan Curry packed with delicious vegetables such as chickpeas, potatoes and tomatoes. This is also a great dish for meal prep as it can be eaten with a range of sides. Not to mention, super easy!

I usually have this with fried plantain, white rice and naan bread. Read below for the full method and ingredient list.

Ingredient List.

  • Chickpeas (1 can)
  • Chopped tomatoes (1 can or fresh equivalent)
  • Scotch bonnet tops (or two tablespoons of scotch bonnet hot sauce)
  • Jamaican sweet pumpkin (optional)
  • One large potato
  • 1 spring onion
  • Half an onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime
  • Spinach (half a packet)
  • Hot curry powder or mild curry powder
  • Jamaican curry power
  • All purpose seasoning
  • Thyme
  • Black pepper
  • Soy sauce

Method.

  • Sweat your diced onion and chopped garlic in a frying pan in a tablespoon of oil on a low heat.
  • Add your cubes potatoes and fry until translucent.
  • Add your spring onion and chopped tomatoes. Turn this onto a high heat until the mixture bubbles then turn down to a low heat.
  • Add the curry powders, all purpose, black pepper, thyme, soy sauce and whole scotch bonnet. Bring this to a high heat also for a few minutes then turn down to low and remove the scotch bonnets.
  • Add your chickpeas and cook for a further 10-15 minutes on a low heat.
  • Add your spinach and squeeze half a lime through the curry.
  • Serve with rice, fried plantain and naan bread.

Let me know how you got on with this recipe by sending me pictures on twitter @thefooddoll or tagging #thefooddoll on Instagram.

The Food Doll.

Meal Prep Series- Jerk BBQ Chicken Breast and Rice Peas.

As part of my meal prep and healthy eating series, I am putting together some quick, easy and healthy recipes intended to save time and money.
I work in the city and often work 7 days in a row. It is essential for me to cook lunch in advance to save money and dinner in advance as I don’t always have the time to do this when I get home from a long day.
One of my favourite recipes, is a quick adapted version of classic Jerk chicken and rice and peas. This can altered if you prefer BBQ or sweet chilli chicken by simply changing the sauce base.


Ingredient List:

Chicken:

Chicken breast fillets

Chicken seasoning (dunns river)

Black pepper.

Jerk BBQ sauce (or BBQ or Sweet Chilli).
Rice:

1/5th Scotch bonnet pepper.

2 cups of washed basmati rice.

1/2 tin of red kidney beans with water.

1/2 diced onion.

1 spring onion.

Thyme.

1 Tablespoon of creamed coconut.

A knob of butter or low fat margarine.

Dunns river every day seasoning.

Salt.

Method.

The Chicken.

Ideally, I always try to season any meat a minimum of two hours in advance or overnight however life doesn’t always allow this. 

To get the best flavour out of a short seasoning time, I score my chicken breast diagonally about 3/4 of the way through the fillet. This allows the seasoning and sauce to penetrate the meat whilst cooking and creates wells of flavour when cooked.


I kept the seasoning simple. Using a sheet of foil; add your pepper, chicken seasoning mix, jerk BBQ marinade (or swap with BBQ or sweet chilli if you wish!) add the dry seasonings first then follow this with the sauce.
Bring the foil around the chicken breast to meet in the middle and roll it downwards to seal. Finally, fold the sides upwards to create a pocket. This will allow tender cooking of your chicken breast in the sauce and it’s own juice.

Pop this into the oven at 180 degrees to cook for about 20 minutes.

Leave the rest for a few minutes before opening the foil pocket. (beware of escaping steam). The gravy can be poured straight from the pocket onto the rice.


You can alternate the sauces to create variety. Why not try a smoky barbecue sauce, a sweet chilli base or some garlic paste mixed with lemon juice?

The Rice.

The rice and peas is much simpler than meets the eye. For a traditional dinner, I would use a different recipe with additional ingredients and steps. 

For meal prep, wash two cups of rice with lukewarm water.


Put this into a pot and fill with the 1 1/2 parts water. I used 3 cups of water to my two cups of rice.


They key is to over season the water to hold the flavour. Add all the rice ingredients to the pot except the kidney beans which will be added later.


Bring the rice to the boil on a medium to high heat. Once brought to the boil, stir once cover and turn down to the lowest heat.
After five minutes, add half of the tin of kidney beans and pour in half of the kidney bean water. 

Steam until the rice is fluffy and box into containers for lunch or dinner. 

You can freeze the containers to eat or store in the fridge for a maximum of three days.

Enjoy! 

The Food Doll.

Authentic Jamaican Curry Goat. 

Besides jerk chicken, this is hands down the most popular dish to come out of the Caribbean and for good reason. Being raised in Jamaica has blessed me with some of my country’s most delicious dishes as taught to me by the women of my family.


I decided to share one of my most precious dishes: Curry Goat/Curry Mutton as I know this dish can be tricky for some. Especially because Caribbean cooking rarely use measurements, instead relying on our eye and experience. Nevertheless, here is my recipe for succulent flavourful Jamaican Curry Goat.

Ingredients: 3-4lbs of goat or mutton meat cubes. salt 1.5 teaspoon, pepper 1.5 teaspoon, curry powder 6 teaspoons, pimento seeds (15), thyme (2 teaspoons), scotch bonnet (1, chopped), butter (1 tablespoon), onion (1, chopped), scallions (two sprigs, chopped) water (to cover), carrots (1-2 diced) and potatoes (1-2 diced).
Step one: mix together all the ingredients except the carrots, potatoes and butter. Leave to season overnight or at least 2 hours in the fridge.


Step Two: Add the butter in a Dutch pot or deep pot. Brown your meat on a high heat for a few minutes to seal the juices in by turning periodically.

Step three: Add enough water cover your meat and bring it to the boil.

Step four: Turn the heat down to very low and slow cook for about 2-3 hours. At 45 minutes before end of cooking, add potatoes & carrots. 

Step five: Boil some white rice or rice and peas, fry some plantain and serve with coleslaw.

Tip: The longer this dish sits before serving is generally the better it tastes. I often cook this in the morning or afternoon, then reheat it on the stove whilst preparing the rice. By this time, the meat has truly soaked up the flavour of the sauce and becomes uniquely tasty.

Enjoy!

The Food Doll ❤