Who doesn't love a Sunday roast? Exactly, no-one. An English tradition that some argue dates back to Medieval times, others the Industrial Revolution (I didn't look that up on Wikipedia, honest). Either way, it's been around for ages and isn't going anywhere soon.
But this Sunday was different. This Sunday we were going out and not just for your standard fayre. This was a chicken roast with a twist.
We were back at the Endurance pub in Soho where you may remember is where I visited Mother Cluckers last month. Today it was taken over by CheckOn - a Pop-Up restaurant duo from up north whose growing popularity has been selling out each of their ventures fast. This one was called Hen Party.
The sun was shining in London - at bloody last - and the shades were on.
We arrived on time at 2pm. I have to say that the CheckOn guys were very kind in fitting us in - I had bought tickets for next Sunday but because of unforeseen circumstances we were unable to make that date. I've no idea how they slotted us in as the place was clearly booked out - but they did! And I was grateful!
Attracting a young crowd, the atmosphere inside was laid back, friendly but filled with anticipation.
Food didn't start to turn up until after 3pm. The penny dropped once we'd arrived that this was more of an afternoon event than a lunch - don't go if you're starving or in a rush! We had quite a wait on our hands but in the meantime we were provided a delicious shot of Bloody Mary. Lovely and spicy, just as I like it.
At about three-thirty the first course was here to ease our rumbling tummies. Six rather bright and arty looking chicken dippers, stripped back like lollipops.
Two were smoky barbeque, two had a crispy breadcrumb coating and two in a creamy sweetcorn sauce. All three flavours were utterly delicious (especially the crispy one) though sadly for us each leg was barely a mouthful...what a tease! I could have eaten a whole plateful!
Next up, course two: Tea and Dumplings. The tea being a chicken consommé served in a Le Creuset black teapot. The teapot is shared between four so if you're in a two like we were, you share with the couple next to you. Well, why not eat chicken and make friends?
The consommé was nice. I would have liked a couple more dumplings (let me know if I'm coming across as greedy, won't you...) but this course was just warming us up for the main event...
...course three! A whole chicken which had been entirely de-boned (they never taught me to do that at Leiths!), stuffed and served with peas, a bottle of gravy and truffled chips.
Unfortunately for little Miss Piggy here, we had to share the whole chicken with the couple next to us again. Boo them!
So we didn't think there was quite enough chicken to go round the four of us sharing it and I would have loved a bit of cranberry sauce to accompany the bird - but that is where the moaning ends.
The chicken was so tender and the stuffing (which ended up being the majority of my meal) was delicious, meaty and herby. The chips were perfectly crispy and the fragrant gravy brought the whole meal together. Even the peas were cooked perfectly al dente (I hate overcooked peas). Really very good.
The Hen Party lasted quite a lot longer than we'd expected so unfortunately we weren't able to wait for dessert as Alex had work to do. But the CheckOn boys made sure we didn't miss out.
And thank goodness we didn't!
What a treat for when we got home - eggs and soldiers! But in this unique little twist the hen's eggs had been hollowed out and filled with vanilla creme brulee. The soldiers were shortbread biscuits.
CheckOn are now selling tickets for two Stag Party events next month which are bound to sell out fast. Sadly for me I can't make either but I'm hoping for a couple more dates to be added soon (hint hint CheckOn!).