To lunch at a recently opened restaurant in Soho. It looks lovely, the staff are friendly and the menu reads particularly well. A simple chicken salad arrives at my table with strips of flabby poultry that are pink. Call me old fashioned, but I like my chicken as white as Richard Caringâ€™s teeth and nothing less. But itâ€™s becoming all too common these days. Numerous restaurants I go to are serving me pink chicken and I canâ€™t get my head around it.
The head chef can probe the bird all they like and argue till they’re blue in the face that itâ€™s cooked to the safe minimum temperature of 165 degrees farenheit. However, I find it truly hard to enjoy a meal when Iâ€™m wondering with every bite whether Iâ€™ll spend the next day glued to my toilet seat, or even worse, the hospitalâ€™s.
Itâ€™s this obsession with water bathing chicken, which is perfectly fine â€“ it creates a bird that is juicy and moist, something I am of course after. But you have to finish it off on the grill or in the fryer afterwards long enough to remove any excess blood, otherwise it is just minging. Thereâ€™s the texture too; who truly likes flaccid chicken flesh?
When I first tried The Lockhartâ€™s fried chicken, I was warned before ordering that although the chicken is properly cooked, it still comes out a little pink. A light warning before hand from someone who appeared knowledgeable was all I needed. I bit through that insanely crunchy coating to discover it was the best fried chicken Iâ€™ve ever eaten.
My problem is when thereâ€™s no reassurance before hand. I come from a family who cook their chicken for at least 6 hours, till thereâ€™s barely any meat left, â€œbut at least you know itâ€™s cooked!â€ Quite right Mum. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m used to and thatâ€™s what Iâ€™ll stick to. Iâ€™m not sure chicken in a water bath / steamer / boiler is ever going to do it for me. Pink chicken? Nah, you’re alright thanks.