Cookhouse Joe is a Lebanese inspired rotisserie chicken joint on Berwick Street in Soho. It’s by the same people who own Soho Joe (somewhere I’ve yet to try) and as I LOVE a bit of chicken I was excited to pop in for dinner.
We sat on the ground floor which was a very small and dark space; the first floor was a little more appealing as it was brighter and more airy. A rotisserie-on-wheels stood in the entrance to the open plan kitchen for us all to see. However, it didn’t look particularly attractive and in fact looked like they hadn’t finished decorating the place.
Menus were on laminated pieces of paper and there weren’t enough to go around so we had to wait for another table to finish perusing theirs before we could have a look….interesting! To start we decided to order some chargrilled halloumi cheese (£4) which was served alongside some pitta bread. You can’t go wrong with a bit of halloumi and in this case it was cooked perfectly; a charred outside with a soft chewy centre.
Sadly it all went downhill from there. Also from the starter section, we shared some chicken wings (£4) and although they weren’t disgusting, they weren’t particularly good either and were rather tasteless. They were at least cooked correctly but they certainly were the most unexciting wings I’ve ever encountered.
For main I opted for the half free range rotisserie chicken with chips and choice of corn on the cob, coleslaw or salad (£6). It was all served in a deep baking tray which was a little odd and thus making it rather hard to eat. To say it was the driest chicken I have ever eaten in my life would be an understatement; the leg had a hint of moisture but the breast was actually a struggle to swallow – I’m not kidding. With a mouthful of chicken my friend said it was like doing the Jacobs Cracker challenge – and she wasn’t wrong. If that wasn’t bad enough, the chicken was totally void of flavour too. The chips were OK and were at least easy to swallow, but lacked any seasoning. Oh dear.
The problem when a restaurant specialises in just one thing is that it has to be brilliant, and this really wasn’t. If the chicken was moist, full of flavour and served on a plate then I would have loved it. But it wasn’t…and I didn’t. Yes it was cheap; £6 for half a chicken and chips is great value, but it’s only great value if the chicken is actually edible. Next time I have a craving for a bit of poultry I think I’ll just stick with Clockjack Oven in Piccadilly Circus, I can swallow their chicken.