Fifty percent misnomer, LeCoq’s name tells you a half-truth about this restaurant: chicken yes, French no. There is no choice of main course – it’s rotisserie chicken, free-range and organic birds from Sutton Hoo in Suffolk. These roasts are served with a seasonal vegetable accompaniment – on our visit, a ratatouille-like caponata. The quality of the meat is apparent: this is poultry that needs no peri-peri marinades to imbue it with flavour.
As part of the set meal deals – £16 for two courses, £20 for three – diners do however have a choice of two starters and two desserts. A platter of Italian-style charcuterie included coppa (dry-cured pork) and finocchiona (fennel) salami, made by Picco, just around the corner in Highbury.
Desserts were a highlight. The ice cream flavours might include ricotta and candied peel, unusually flavoured with fig leaves and saffron-infused Strega liqueur. This had an appealing and dense clotted-cream texture, with orange and herbal notes. Chocolate tart garnished with crème fraîche and fragments of crushed honeycomb had crisp pastry and the perfect balance of bitter-sweetness.
To prevent diners and chefs alike becoming bored of the very limited selection, the menu changes each week, and Sundays will see some other beasts twirling on the spit (pork belly and octopus, perhaps).
LeCoq is the brainchild of sisters Ana and Sanja Morris. Their formula is a simple, ever-revolving seasonal menu, at a fair price, with roast chicken at its heart. If you’re fond of fowl, it’s clucking great.