Chicken and Whisky are two of Tim’s favourite things, so when I heard about a new restaurant which specialised in those two very things, I couldn’t wait to take him there and see what he thought.
Bull In A China Shop opened recently in Shoreditch (just opposite Box Park) and describes itself as a Japanese Whisky House, which also serves food (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
Our visit was quite impromptu – we were going to a gig in Hackney after work and wanted to grab a bite to eat somewhere nearby, but we hadn’t booked anywhere. We thought we’d try Bull In A China Shop, which was open at that time although we were (unsurprisingly) the only people there at 6pm mid-week. It has a very rustic feel (so rustic, in fact, that one of the staff decided to dust around us. Perhaps wait until the customers have left to do the cleaning?!) and some great Japanese decor, while still fitting in with the Shoreditch style.
We both went for their rotisserie chicken, which we could see cooking in the kitchen, with cauliflower fritters and iceberg lettuce with bacon.
The chicken was incredibly juicy. It was definitely on a par with Chicken Shop, which I wrote about recently. It was cooked with an asian spiced whisky glaze and served in a bowl with lime.
I wasn’t so sure about the iceberg lettuce and bacon. Because that’s quite literally what it was. A chunk of lettuce and some bacon bits. I really should have got that from the name, but I thought they might have done something a bit more adventurous with it. Although it still tasted good, with a dressing drizzled over the top.
The cauliflower fritters were delicious and I’d love to try making them at home – very indulgent and moreish.
But where the venue really shines is their whisky collection, many from Japan (and hence the theme of the restaurant) but also some from Scotland. I recently got into whisky through Tim and really enjoy it, but I’m by no means an expert. I would like to learn more though. Luckily, the menu included a handy little guide to explain the different types of whisky on offer, talking about the difference between a single malt, a blend and so on.
It also gave a bit of insight into the world of Japanese whisky, describing how Japan is the second largest producer of single malt whisky after Scotland. But unlike in Scotland where each distillery will focus on one style of whisky, many Japanese distillers will create lots of different styles coming from in-house casks.
By the time we left at around 7.30pm, the restaurant was filling up quickly with a great buzz about it. I’d love to see what their breakfast is like, and I can see this place getting very popular.