There’s a revolution happening in east London. A call for an end to the dude food movement of big meats and big potatoes, burgers the size of buildings and body parts so intimate it’s enough to make you cry. Sometimes all we want is something simple, tasty and if possible a little bit fried. Hail Clutch, a new, fantastic fried chicken restaurant serving only the best in battered hen.
Set in a converted pub on a quiet street near Columbia Road, this family-run project has one aim: to serve up happy chickens (free-range reared in Wiltshire, cooked in groundnut oil) three ways with a choice of sides and sauces. There’s a classic bucket in either peppery buttermilk or, my pick, finger-licking soy and garlic. If wings are more your thing, then the “wingit by the dozen” are moreish and juicy, and come in either honey and sesame or sour and spicy. For those who don’t do bones, the “love me tenders” are soft fingers of meat soaked in lemon and parmesan or curry leaf and sesame. And if you don’t do chicken at all, that’s a problem, as there’s nothing else on the menu. Vegetarians can, however, call the day before so they can prepare something or go at the weekend for the special of chilli scrambled eggs, halloumi, roast tomato and guacamole.
The sides are worth a special mention, a small but well-chosen list including good and salty double-cooked chips, stuffing and gravy (particularly good with the buttermilk bucket pieces) and an awesome coleslaw.
Anti-dude food it may be, but the compact Clutch retains some of the area’s design zeitgeist with lots of upcycled lighting, bearded staff and 1970s glassware on restored golden tables. It’s a pretty and contemporary place to gather with friends and celebrate all that is happy chicken. If you have to wait for a table, there’s a menu of “clutch-tails” in the back bar, which in the summer will have a garden area, so you too, can range free. Shake a tail feather down there this Easter and be part of the revolution.
by Vicky Paterson
Clutch, 4 Ravenscroft Street, Hackney, London, E2 7QG
Tel: 0207 294 402
Closed Mondays, dinner only except Fridays and weekends.