Conceptually, Marsha is the love child of two major food trends: high-end fried chicken, which has been booming in the capital for the best part of a decade now, and the more recently revived nose-to-tail eating. It’s committed to minimising food waste, proving there’s more to chicken than nuggets and wings and convincing you that heart and liver are just as tasty with a pile of chips.
Stretched across two floors in the perpetually busy Kingly Court, Marsha’s second location (the first is in Gabriel’s Wharf on the South Bank) is decked out with mirrored walls, white tables and a mix of baby-blue seating. Add moody lighting and a peppy, eclectic soundtrack and the setting is very much ‘ice-cream parlour afterparty’. The clientele is a melting pot of Hinge dates, workmates soaking up their post-office pints and – like at most places just off Carnaby Street – those who’ve given up on the queue for Dishoom round the corner. These are probably the main scenarios in which I’d recommend you visit.
Marsha aims to serve as much of its Yorkshire-farmed, higher-welfare chooks as possible. You’ll find a towering, succulent buttermilk-fried thigh burger, with a wonderfully soft bun, and fillet tenders (sadly meagre, lacking in flavour) as well as a selection of offal dishes.
My adventurous order of chicken hearts wrapped in bacon were perky, juicy little morsels
My adventurous order of chicken hearts wrapped in bacon were perky, juicy little morsels, and not half as chewy or metallic-tasting as I’d feared they would be. A bowl of chicken pearls – dinky pieces of dark meat found on the back of the thigh (also known as oysters) – were the opposite, however: tough and rubbery. But the creamy bacon and marsala wine sauce they were perched on was absolutely worth the calories.
Poultry isn’t confined to the food menu here, as top of the cocktail list is Marsha’s signature Dirty Clucker Martini. Made with vodka, dry vermouth, olive brine and chicken stock, and served with a rim of candied chicken skin, what initially sounded like pure novelty (or madness) was an exhilaratingly boozy, utterly moreish umami concoction. Just ignore the fact that it looks like a glass of dirty dishwater.
Ready for the plot twist? The best thing I ate all night was the (100 per cent vegan) bang bang roasted cauliflower. It was served lightly charred and perfectly al dente, rolled in a silky, spicy, sweet and slightly bitter gochujang sauce and topped with fresh, crunchy spring onion. It turns out that Marsha is not all about the chicken.
The vibe Stylish, lively and ideal for people-watching.
The food Beak-to-claw chicken dishes with additional plant-based delights.
The drink Fun, moreish cocktails – even when they’re made with chicken stock.
Time Out tip Ask for a table upstairs, where there is cosy booth seating and comfy velvet sofas.