Forget greasy fast food and rather opt for mac n’ cheese or authentic Southern-fried chicken at Cape Town’s The Chicken Shop. While fried chicken often brings to mind a singular American brand, now finding the fairest fowl has taken a local turn for the better – think organic, pasture-reared chicken, home-style sides and big flame-grilled flavour.
The brainchild of Jarryd and Ariel Segal, The Chicken Shop is situated on the same road as their popular eatery Jarryd’s – the latter caters mainly to the coffee crowd, while the former features the kind of nostalgic knees-up eating that epitomises comfort. For too long, South Africans have had to resort to anaemic, stringy chicken from various fast food franchises that make use of produce from questionable sources, questionable cooking methods and even more questionable health consequences. Which is why eateries like The Chicken Shop are such a welcome respite from mass-produced food. Through their use of organic Elgin chicken products, salads and sides made fresh daily and their charcoal rotisserie, The Chicken Shop is breathing new life into the concept of good fast food.
Boasting a steady stream of multicultural clientele (because almost everybody loves chicken!), the restaurant itself is styled after a retro canteen – choose your meal from the large overhead menu before placing the order at the counter. Large tables and benches offer communal seating while a colour palette of charcoal, rough wood and bright yellow gives the space an industrial yet playful ambiance. The fact that The Chicken Shop boasts an open kitchen does not go amiss either as often clouds of barbecue-scented smoke will come billowing out over diners – this of course only adds to the lunchtime rush.
As far as variety goes, The Chicken Shop lives up to its name by offering chicken done in almost every way possible. Choose from their signature charcoal-roasted chicken, panko-crumbed chicken fillet, buttermilk fried chicken or even saucy pulled chicken served in a bun for a delightfully messy mouthful. Chef Scott Walker’s chicken burger specials change weekly, as does his mouthwatering selection of both hot and cold sides. You can also enjoy braised beef short ribs or slow-roasted lamb. We opted for the whole rotisserie chicken in The Chicken Shop’s own peri-peri sauce, a portion of buttermilk fried chicken, a side of fries and their avocado and kale salad. Tender, juicy and full of the tang of lemon, garlic and chilli, the charcoal-roasted chook was a firm favourite – so much so that we had to buy a bottle of the peri-peri sauce to take home. The fried chicken portions are generous; the coating expertly seasoned and crisp without being oily – the perfect accompaniment to the richness of avocado in the kale salad.
Because The Chicken Shop is as popular as a takeaway destination as it is for its casual atmosphere, it is recommended that you arrive early for a seat and sample as much of their menu as your waistband will allow.
Find The Chicken Shop at 162 Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town.
Visit thechickenshop.co.za for more details.