Londoners are the biggest area snobs in the world. If you ask a Camden-phile to even consider stepping further South than the edge of Regent Street, you are looking at some pretty serious words being exchanged. Same goes for someone who looks at South East as the centre of the universe – push them to edge a little upwards of Moorgate and you might as well be asking them to re-locate to South Shields. It ain’t gonna happen.
But what if the carrot dangling tantalisingly from the end of this stick we all call TFL was a huge, tender, juicy pile of rotisserie chicken? Well then, sir, you are looking at a dinner date! Or lunch, as the case may be…
Step up Le Coq – the love child of sisters Ana and Sanja Morris. Apparently, one night, a little worse for wear after several cocktails in Manhattan, Ana and Sanja thought ‘Hey! We love chicken, the PEOPLE love chicken, you love to cook and I love to set up restaurants! There must be a concept in here, lurking about somewhere’ and BOOM. Welcome Le Coq to the arena.
Highbury & Islington may be a second home for some of you, or the ends of the Earth for others. But whatever your feelings on this little chunk of the Capital, Le Coq could not be easier to get to. Just a wish bone’s throw away from the station is super delectable chicken and potatoes so what are you waiting for?
The menu concept is a breeze. Three starters, one main, three desserts. All simple. All straight forward. All for £22. The whole menu has a real modern European feel – and I say that because although the name is French, and the main star of the poultry show is French, the rest of the menu ranges from touching on Italian, to English and Spanish. It’s like a Eurovision of food, but minus weird dancers, violinists and Graham Norton. So, for instance, the starters included fennel salami with mostado (a kind of mustardy, spicy, glace cherry mix…much tastier than this description lends you to think), sautéed chard with smoky anchovy dressing and crispy shallots or grilled squid and inky polenta. Somewhat Italiano, I think you’d agree. Whereas the desserts – classic custard tart, Gruyere with crackers and a Hot Cross bun ice cream sandwich (Yes. Just, yes.) – are much more a celebration of our own shores. The most important thing, though, is that it works. And it works brilliantly.
Le Coq is cozy. It’s bright, and airy and manages to feel like it’s always been there, as well as young, brand new and raring to go. If you want to bring a date here, with three courses at a set price of £22, you can take the cheque without breaking the bank. Or if the in laws are in town, and you don’t feel like negotiating a roast dinner for 4 adults, 2 infants and an animal, head on down for the most relaxed Sunday you could imagine. Le Coq is, what I like to call, a box ticker, and it’s doing a mighty fine job of it.