Are you feeling peckish? Why don’t you pluck up the courage and try something new? There is a new poultry aficionado in town called Ma’Plucker, a Southern American inspired chicken diner, with a focus on soul food; fittingly nestled on Soho’s Beak Street, how serendipitous is that?
The venue exudes retro chic, while being quirky and funky in design. The restaurant is relatively small, but most places in Soho are. Nonetheless, Ma’Plucker still feels light and airy due to its bright tiling, simple natural wood coloured bench seating and Art Deco style ceiling. The entire interior feels evocative and playful, with its lascivious anthropomorphic hen logo adding a bit of 80’s style bawdy humour; putting a cheeky smile on its diner’s faces.
The defining feature at Ma’Plucker is its concept of serving 3 types of chicken: pull, fried and rotisserie, in addition to the fact that the chicken is halal, which is great for all us Halal food adventurers.
Now on to the food, the menu looks deceptively small and simple, however there is actually a lot of choice, unless you’re a vegetarian, but, even a vegetarian still won’t go home hungry… well, maybe slightly.
Our invitation to Ma’Plucker included a sampling of their dishes. The first dish we tried, was the “crispy coated butter milk dipped chicken thigh, with maple waffle and gravy”. The chicken thigh was so moist and tender, bursting with Southern fried spices, it was a true delight to eat. However, the crispy coating was a disappointment, as it tasted slightly burnt and was too flakey and brittle, which also made the chicken thigh look visually unappealing. The waffle was soft and warm with a light maple piquancy, truly delicious. The combination of waffle and chicken thigh was stupendous, making every bite a joy. The gravy was a great addition, as it helped moisten the dry dandruffy texture of the so called crispy coating. Nonetheless, the dish was still a hit with our gustatory cells.
The next dish to be devoured was the “Fried Chicken and Halloumi Bun, with lettuce and Ma’s slaw”. The chicken was once again cooked immaculately and we loved the addition of the slightly salty Halloumi, combined with the refreshing slaw that also contained apple. However, the burger was not perfect, as all the ingredients in the burger made it very dry, thereby subduing the potential great flavours. The simple solution is to injection some sauce into the burger to emancipate the piquancy.
The following dish was a vegetarian friendly “Cheese Fan”, which was crispy coated Halloumi cheese in a bed of lettuce, with a splash of vinaigrette dressing, plus we also ordered barbecue sauce which was presented in a small milk bottle, which was utterly adorable. The barbecue sauce was rich, bold and smokey in flavour, which truly lifted the Halloumi to new heights of taste. The mild flavoured Halloumi cheese juxtaposed with the slightly acidic dressing and fresh assorted salad was also thoroughly satisfying.
For starters we tried Ma’Plucker’s famous take on macaroni and cheese, “Crack and Cheese”. The concept and presentation of the dish was wonderful, but it failed on its taste execution. The dish was void of flavour and also extremely dry. We were hoping for the cheese to tantalisingly ooze out, and the bold and beautiful flavours to tease our taste buds, but alas it was not meant to be. Nonetheless, a great idea and with a little bit of tweaking we expect the “Crack and Cheese” to be phenomenal.
Now, what we’ve all been waiting for, the most unusual Sundae Ice Creams we have ever tasted, and, oh my gosh, was it good. “Cornflake and Caramel Sundae” and “Ma’s Sweet n Salty Popcorn Sundae”. The luxurious smooth confectionary sweet taste of the caramel, homogenised with the crunchy texture of the cornflake provided a unique and delectable taste sensation. At first we thought the “Cornflake and Caramel Sundae” would be the outright winner, however, “Ma’s Sweet n Salty Popcorn Sundae” was astonishingly even better. The decadent chocolate and the delicious ice cream just seduces the palate into hedonistic submission, with the popcorn providing another innovative taste experience.
And to finish off the meal we had the “Cherry Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream”. As desserts go, this was very pleasant. The rich filling of the cherry pie was sweet and slightly sour, which was balanced by the cool refreshing taste of the ice cream. This is not a decadent dessert, as we probably would have liked, as the pastry was slightly too heavy and the candy stars were too hard, but nonetheless, still a homely and pleasing end to a meal.
Ma’Plucker is still pretty much the new chick on the block and therefore there are still areas where it does need to improve, and no doubt that they will, as they intend to open more ventures in the future.
The concept, presentation and innovation of Ma’Plucker is impeccable and the food is still extremely enjoyable, so follow their halal food journey, as you will be pleasantly surprised.