In the wake of a summer that had many of us questioning the source, and even the true identity of the meat on our plates, Belles might like this newest addition to Soho’s Kingly Court. Introducing Whyte and Brown.
This very trendy eaterie in the heart of Carnaby Street is based on two ‘hero’ ingredients: chicken and eggs – which, as the restaurant proudly celebrate, come from a free-range farm in Devon.
This isn’t just catering for diners who can’t turn a blind eye to the dark side of mass chicken production. Oh no. Whyte and Brown goes one step further than guaranteeing barn-reared birds. They insist all their chicken is 100% free-range. These birds can roam freely outside without being fed at an unnaturally alarming rate. The result? Their chickens lead healthier and longer lives.
‘If I was a chicken, I’d want to be one of these ones,’ Whyte and Brown’s Creative Director Fiona Gale tells us during our visit.
It’s a funny statement but her passion for the business is clear. After all, it was Fiona who thought up the whole Whyte and Brown idea while roasting a chicken herself one Sunday afternoon.
From pondering the business idea over a glass of wine, her dream has become a reality.
And while many Belles may question why they should visit a restaurant that only serves chicken and eggs; their simple, yet creative menu is said to be anything but dull. And according to Fiona, we’re not dealing with any old chicken, this is five star chicken.
We put her claims to the test.
For a restaurant that’s located within one of the trendiest corners of Soho, the restaurant’s pièce de résistance, the humble Scotch egg, may come as a surprise.
But as we discovered, their ‘Bangkok’ Scotch egg starter dish is infused with delicious Asian herbs and spices. Its chicken thigh-meat exterior is juicy, and it has a perfectly soft (but not too runny) centre. We’re immediately sold.
The harissa hot wings were a touch too hot, but I was impressed by the lovely slate presentation and the chef’s generally gutsy approach to this menu (after all, some Belles like their food this fiery, even if I don’t).
‘Eat the oranges like you would as a school girl after a netball match’ Fiona laughs, referring to the caramelised orange wedges that complement it.
They’re delicious it turns out. And I’m beginning to like Whyte and Brown’s non-pretentious yet very trendy approach.
Our starter sampling is completed with chicken liver pâté on sourdough and half a dozen croquette balls. The chicken liver pâté was fantastically tasty and the croquette balls filled with sumptuous béchamel sauce and pancetta need one word only, heaven.
For mains it was a difficult decision between the Lemon Leek Risotto Scotch Egg, the chargrilled chicken souvlaki and the Light chicken and langoustine pie.
I opted for the latter and yes, their seafood is as good as their chicken. While you won’t find any red meat on the Whyte and Brown menu, you will find a few fish and chicken fusion dishes.
And when I was presented with a langoustine literally ‘leaping’ out of the puff pastry pie, it was exciting and delicious.
I’ve never tasted this combination before and it was served in another delicious, creamy sauce, with equally juicy chunks of langoustine and chicken.
Feeling shamefully gluttonous, we ended the meal with desserts (which this restaurant does well).
Their informal vibe continues with the likes of ‘Proper’ ice cream, ‘Tipsy trifle’ and Today’s Brownies and ice cream.
The brownie of that day was a rich hazelnut one, accompanied with a hazelnut ice-cream.
Personally, I thought the Beyond-Eton-Mess topped it with a range of gooey and crunchy textures and light and fruity flavours. But the best bit of all? The tangy lemon posset and popping candy which explodes in your mouth. A brilliant end to a fun-filled meal.
In an age of food fads, some are short-lived and others live on.
As a venue, it’s all about the trendy, rustic vibe with exposed beams, chunky wooden tables and light bulb lit bar.
As a restaurant, their food is imaginative yet humble, earthy, yet cool. And did we mention they do wonderful cocktails à la award-wining mixologist Ryan Chetiwardana?
In a year where we’ve all lost faith in the origins of our food, Whyte and Brown’s food ‘fad’ is one that’s worth the airplay.
We’ll be back for breakfast too.
Whyte and Brown, Kingly Court, Carnaby, London, W1B 5PW, 0203 747 9820