Sam Harrington-Lowe went along to check out the chicken at this Hove rotisserie restaurant…
Tell us about it… Crafty Chooks is a rotisserie-chicken centred restaurant in Hove. Opened in spring this year, the owners have taken it on and given it a facelift and some love, and it looks great for it. It’s a relaxed and informal hub, with seating inside and out, and the staff and team are really friendly and helpful.
Having a drink at the bar beforehand we got to have a nose about at the new layout and décor; it’s smart without being stiff, and relaxed without being slobby. It’s a good balance. What did you eat?
On recommendation we had Chicken and Sweet Potato Beignets (£5.95) and Black treacle glazed sticky Spare Ribs (£6.50) to start. The spare ribs are definitely the winner here – sticky and unctuous, magnificent in their dark and shiny glaze, which is made from scratch on the premises.
The beignets were a pleasant surprise too – as little ovoids of deep fried brown stuff, they taste better than they look and slide down very easily, with a rather sexy dip. Both great starters – worth mentioning that they’re pretty sturdy portions too, no skimping here.
For main course, we had (of course) half a chicken with the hot BBQ sauce (£8.95), and went a little off-piste with Soy & Honey Fried Chicken Salad, with rice noodles, spring onion, ginger, fresh chilli, toasted cashews (£9.25).
If you’re eating in a place that specialises in chicken, you want it to be top-notch and there’s no faulting this chook. The rotisserie cooking means that the meat isn’t dry, as it self-bastes going round the hot cabinet.
And the salad is a very filling and hearty number, with a liberal scattering of fresh chillies (not for those who don’t like the hot stuff) and rammed with noodles and pak choy.
One of the things I really liked was the use of fresh roasted, torn chicken instead of homogenised pallid lumps of chicken breast, which I always find a bit insipid. There is nothing insipid about this salad, be assured – it kicks ass. We threw in some salad and skinny fries but in all honesty, after a starter too we didn’t really need them. Did you do dessert? Being so fat we could hardly breathe, we managed to share a Lemon Meringue Pie (£4.95) which was light and fluffy, came scattered with zingy lemon sherbet a crumbling shortcrust pastry to die for. Also the size of a small house, it went very well with the coffees we had with it. Then we needed a bit of a lie down. Sum it up for us? This is a great place to hang out, to eat good chicken, drink wine and pass the time of day. It’s a very relaxed and informal eaterie, and the simplicity of the menu makes it really easy to choose; plus you know the ingredients are fresh, and locally sourced. Also, the chicken is free-range, and happy chooks make for happy eaters.
10 Victoria Grove
Hove BN3 2LJ