Friday, 8 May 2015

Bull in a China Shop

A Whisky Chicken Affair

My life long companionship with chicken has been a committed, steady and beautiful one. Whisky on the other hand is a lustful, steamy relationship that swept me off my feet relatively recently. In charges Bull in a China Shop, and combines the two under one oriental themed roof. A happy marriage I'd say.

If you manage to open the door (I had a brief but intense battle with a dodgy handle), you will find yourself inside a beautiful all-day restaurant and whisky bar. Give a nod to the guard-bull and sidle up to the shining copper-topped bar.
You have 30 expertly selected Japanese and Scotch whiskies to choose from and it is immediately obvious that many hours have been spent ensuring that only the best reach the shelves. While the whisky appreciation society of our table enjoyed tastes of the (not-arriving-in-the-UK-until-October) Nikka 12 yr and the smoothly blended and also hard-to-come-by Hibiki Suntory Japanese Harmony, the cocktail menu provided delicious whisky based concoctions that even the most tentative to whisky will enjoy.
The interior is immediately appealing. Oriental trinkets at every glance, with teapots, parasols, chess pieces and brass bulls adorning the walls. A polished bar stretches along to the open kitchen where you can watch the rotisserie chickens turn on their spits and dishes await their departure to the tables. The restaurant section is tucked around the corner away from the bar, and is equally appropriate for mate dates, date dates and solo dining.

Back on the booze, we chose:
The Apricot High Ball (Nikka whisky from the barrel, apricot jam, apricot brandy and soda),
The Amaterasu (Nikka whisky from the barrel, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Chamomile syrup, orange bitters and orgeat), and
The Wabi/Sabi (Hakushu Single malt distiller's reserver, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Matcha green tea syrup, black walnut bitters).
All dangerously drinkable, so at £10 a pop, I'd keep a serious eye on your wallet, especially when the charcoal old fashioned is on offer (when we went, the charcoal hadn't quite finished charcoaling but I have it on good authority that this drink is a winner).

Enter the sticky wings, with a spicy dipping sauce for all you chilli enthusiasts. I'm not one for even attempting to maintain a ladylike self composure when wings are on the table, it's all about grab and go, ignoring the lack of asbestos fingers and enjoying the burning stickiness.

The signature charcoal chicken burger was delicious. Succulent with a crispy panko crusted coating and shredded vegetables. While I'm not sure that the charcoal bun was hugely dissimilar in taste from a regularly coloured brioche bun, that didn't pose a problem and it certainly provided instagram with something to get its teeth into! 
​Unfortunately, the other mains didn't quite hit the spot, with the halloumi & red pepper and the fish burgers not quite creating the hoped-for waves of excitement. The salad combinations, though extensive (six packed together in two dishes), were rather bizarre and too dry to compliment the burgers. I'd stick with the coleslaw if you want a little more saucy accompaniment. However, there were resounding groans of enjoyment for the deep fried cauliflower cheese bites which were indulgently moreish.

Dessert arrived in the form of their signature whisky smoked bread and butter pudding. One of the most un-photogenic dishes I've come across in a while, but don't judge a book by its cover and all that, because this pud is a comforting delight. The charcoal bun was soaked in whisky, butter and apricot, surrounded by a sweet, cinnamony custard. Bingo.

The whisky was unanimously the winner of the evening for all involved, and I'd happily return to pull up a seat at the bar, order some of the smaller offerings (chicken wings and cauliflower cheese bites) then get my whisky on! So, Bull in a China Shop, stick a flag in me, for I am err conquered (?) ..

Square Meal

1 comment :

  1. Yum! The boyf is a whiskey lover so this is definitely somewhere I need to take him :) xx

    Jasmin Charlotte