“How did you get into this industry?”, asked Fiona Gale, Creative Director at Whyte & Brown. My reply wasn’t exactly thrilling. I don’t have a romantic story of a childhood spent in the kitchen with my mum and grandma who passed recipes onto me. No. In fact, I don’t think I ever made anything other than currant buns as a child. So what happened?
It all started about five years ago when I was at home and in need of something to satisfy my sweet tooth. I baked a tray of brownies and as soon as the first crumb hit my mouth I was hooked. That’s when the love affair really started and since then I have spent the majority of my time both searching for the best food the world can offer and attempting to recreate it in my kitchen at home.
So that’s my story. Fiona’s? Well hers is certainly more romantic. Her mother was a fantastic cook and she spent a lot of time in the kitchen with her as a child cooking the most delicious home made dishes. Fiona was sat in her kitchen one evening a couple of years ago and suddenly realised that there was a gap in the market. Apart from Nandos and KFC, no one at that time was offering a good range of chicken dishes. Then she started to write down all of the chicken recipes that she loves and it hit her. She would open a restaurant where the menu focusses on chicken and eggs.
Since Fiona’s realisation, a few chicken restaurants have popped up around London but none are like Whyte and Brown. Why? Because the menu doesn’t just feature roasted, grilled or fried chicken, as others do, but instead features an excellent wide range of hearty home cooked chicken dishes.
I was there to try as much as possible from the menu with a group of food bloggers at the beginning of last week. The restaurant wasn’t packed but it was a Monday night and there were a healthy number of diners, especially since it has only been open a few weeks.
The first thing that caught my eye upon entering was the interior. The oh so trendy reclaimed look is in full force but it’s one I love and I felt totally comfortable throughout the evening.
We shared a few of the starters, my favourites being the Bangkok Chicken Scotch Egg – minced chicken thigh-meat, lime leaf, coriander, mint, lemon grass, chilli and ginger served on a pickled cucumber salad and VERY spicy Harissa Hot Wings served with caramelised orange wedges, coriander and minty yoghurt dressing. I also loved the Chicken Liver Paté with Grilled Sourdough.
We ordered our own mains. I opted for the Brick Chicken – steeped in lemon, thyme and garlic, crisp-skinned three ways: marinated breast roast-grilled under brick, 24-hour slow cooked thigh confit and 12-hour slow-cooked wing served with a jug of house-made gravy. I ordered it with mash, which was one of the most delicious and creamy portions of mash I had ever had. I tried the Chicken Souvlaki, which was tasty but not quite as authentic as the real deal. I wanted to try the Vietnamese Chicken Soup but by this time my stomach was throwing a hissy fit at the thought of more savoury food.
For dessert, we shared portions of the Eton Mess, Trifle and Chocolate Brownie with Hazlenut Ice Cream. The Eton Mess was definitely my favourite – lemon posset instead of whipped cream and a fun addition of popping candy.
I really enjoyed my evening at Whyte and Brown and look forward to returning to try out the breakfast offering. What I loved most about it is that I now know I can get delicious home cooked style chicken dishes for a great price in Central London.
Whyte & Brown
London, W1B 5PW