Occupying a Dickensian-fronted pub opposite Shoreditch’s iconic Tea Building, Bull in a China Shop is an Asian-inspired all-day restaurant from Stephen and Simon Chan, the brothers behind Drunken Monkey just down the road. The cosy 40-seater restaurant was designed by Sara Lewin of Cereal Killer Café fame, and is a mix of oriental opulence and Shoreditch cool – think low, atmospheric lighting and velvety teal banquettes against white-washed brick walls and an eclectic collection of medicine bottles and ornaments.
It specialises in rotisserie chicken and whisky, but this isn’t some east-end fad, these guys are serious. The chicken is brined for four hours before being left to marinate for a further 24 hours in a mix of Asian spices and yogurt. It’s then finished with a deliciously-dark, sticky whisky glaze. The result is such incredibly succulent, richly flavoured meat that you’ll have to exercise a great amount of willpower not to finish a whole one by yourself. Pair this with some cauliflower cheese fritters and spicy mayo (we’re obsessed), guacamole salad, and house slaw with mooli.
It’s not just about the rotisserie, though. Bull in a China Shop is embracing the trend for incorporating toxin-absorbing charcoal into cooking with their striking black bamboo charcoal brioche buns, made down the road at The Dusty Knuckle Bakery in Dalston. Try it in the crisp panko crusted chicken sandwich, served with daikon radish and mayonnaise, or grilled halloumi with red pepper and harissa.
As for drinks, it’s all about whisky. Take a seat at the gleaming copper bar and watch the staff hand-carve the ice for your chosen dram from a 30-strong selection of Japanese and Scotch whiskies. Not a whisky drinker? Ask the knowledgeable staff for a recommendation – whether it’s delicate and floral or heavy and smokey, there’ll be one for you. Or try one of their signature cocktails such as the camomile and charcoal old fashioned or Bos Taurus, a blend of Nikka Japanese whisky, maple syrup and Asian pear (find the recipe in our July magazine). If you really want to get involved, try the 3-course set menu with whisky pairings available Thursday-Saturday.
For dessert, if you’re not whisky-ed out, go for the Macallan trifle with crunchy granola, spiced poached pears and a light dusting of charcoal.
Bullseye: Bread and butter pudding made with cinnamon swirls from The Dusty Knuckle Bakery served with a jug of El Dorado rum cream. Worth it for the jug alone – you’ll know what we mean.
By Sarah Kingsbury
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