Tuesday, 29 September 2009

17. Chicken Cottage

105 Cricklewood Broadway, 020 8969 5996

Gourmand writes: A foal gallops past my window towards its mother. The aromas of fresh mint and thyme linger in the air. The sun sets behind the mountains.

I'm in a caravan in the hills of northern Tuscany, and I've spent the past hour picking dates and grapes from the trees. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find a cute little abode called Chicken Cottage down one of these country lanes, or whatever Chicken Cottage is in Italian. Il Cottago Pollo? Who knows.

Unfortunately, this review of Chicken Cottage isn't a cute-as-feathers, cluck-happy idyll because Chicken Cottage is the gateway to the arse-end of Cricklewood, a selection of crappy shops by a crossroads where the only feathers are tarred and the only thing nature has to offer is Friday night's tramp's piss.

Nevertheless, Chicken Cottage, with its charming thatched roof made of drumsticks, possesses a magnetic attraction to Cricklewodians. Sure, the food's lousy, the smell's repugnant and the atmosphere's slightly foreboding, but it's often hard to get a table at this chicken-twisting fryhouse. The local lads sit in there day and night, soaking up the oily badness.

To be fair, it's not that shit for what it is. My chicken burger tasted something like chicken, although Gormless' fried plop de poulet thingy scared me. Perhaps it was reconstituted, or reimagined, or regressive, or whatever they do to it in the warehouse, but it seemed so unshapely. Gormless didn't enjoy it much, and remember, this is a man with fewer working taste buds than a vole, so that's some harsh criticism right there, folks.

It's cheap, though. And as Gormless no doubt will mention, they give you the option of Ribena instead of Coke. We love you, Chicken Cottage!

Gormless writes:
In the course of our Gullets adventure Chicken Cottage has become a symbol. It represents the transition between the two Cricklewoods, a division only the most on-message of Cricklewood unity preachers would deny. On one side of this crud cottage are restaurants, sometimes struggling, but with character and heart. On the other there is a steep decline into the tasteless gaud of McDonalds, Burger King and KFC .

After visiting Chicken Cottage, I have had to revised its symbol status. It is not so much the transition point between the two Cricklewoods as one of the lowest points brought forward; it is an abrupt descent into shit, especially following Zeytoon.

I ordered two pieces of chicken, two hot wings and a drink. The chicken tasted as though they had subjected the Colonel's special recipe to another secret stage involving grease injections and lead lining. The place was quite busy, with an exclusively gurning, grinning male cast. Once again, I would like to thank my patron, Gourmand, for taking me to nice places and making me feel out of sorts among 'my people'.

The best I can say for it is that they offer Ribena as an alternative to Coke and Tango.

Overall score: 6/20
Better than we expected. Honestly.