Two loves of my life have lasted from my childhood through to adulthood: chicken and cheese. Whilst my palette might have improved substantially and my favourite cheese along with it (used to be Tesco mild coloured cheddar cheese, is now burrata in case you were wondering!) my love for these two things has stayed strong!
With the dreaded “cheeky Nando’s” dominating the chicken market being that it’s the most overpriced and overrated meal out there, I tend to swerve chicken restaurants as they often just try to replicate the (crap, in my opinion) model of Nando’s.
Spatch is owned by a private local in a small collection of Edinburgh establishments including Burgers and Beers, which I visited recently, and the Newsroom. It’s located on Hunter Square, just off the Royal Mile, just around the corner from sister restaurant Burgers & Beers. They kindly invited me along to try out their recently launched menu*.
Spatch is focussed on chicken: the decor is chicken coop crossed with your nan’s potting shed (that’s not an insult, by the way!) with rustic wood, downlighting reminiscent of the lights used to keep eggs warm and the seating upholstery is akin to your nan’s knitting bag.
The menu, likewise, is focussed on what they do best “Spatch. Rotate. Eat. Repeat” with their custom-made rotisserie taking centre stage as you enter the restaurant.
Offering a variety of chicken-y goods, the menu is well varied but focussed. They even cater for non-chicken lovers and vegetarians alike.
Like its chain counterpart, they offer up your main with lots of sides to choose from. Unlike its counterpart, the prices match up to the quality.
My boyfriend, who’s not as offended by Nando’s as I am (shame, shaaaame) went for half a chicken with the piri-piri dip. That. Crispy. Skin. The herb rub and cooking of the chicken in the rotisserie resulted in a tender, well seasoned and flavoursome bird that satiated the appetite.
I’d seen the “Scranimal Farm” on Instagram and wanted it for its name alone but when I found out that it was a Cajun spiced chicken breast, topped with slow cooked pulled brisket and bacon, well, I was sold. It also comes topped with an egg but I opted out (too messy to eat with a runny yolk). All of that plus salad and braised red cabbage too, it’s a mammoth burger but it all worked in harmony and every element was perfectly cooked and delicious. The chicken was (sorry, gotta use the word) moist and the brisket was to die for. My one comment would be that the red cabbage needed to be drained more as I was left with a big pink puddle in the middle of my plate rendering it useless and having to precariously perch my burger on the edge in between bites.
For our sides, my boyfriend wanted the very Scottish haggis bites with an Irn Bru dipping sauce (!) which were crispy with a panko-style crumb on the outside and soft on the inside. The dip, which was sweet and sticky just like Irn Bru but with a fiery kick of chilli, was…interesting! I didn’t love it but I kept going back for more, it was intriguing I would say!
Oh chippy chips of chip dreams. I would go so far to say these are the best chips I’ve had outside of a chip shop. Big claim, I know. Twice cooked, they deliver on the ‘crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside’ promise.
We also went for the lime and tequila slaw (see top pic) which was nice but I couldn’t detect much lime nor tequila. It was perfectly pleasant however.
As we found with Burgers & Beers, the key thing about Spatch is the staff. There were only two servers on the night we went and it was quite busy, they managed to juggle everybody efficiently, provide excellent service and all with smiles on their faces. Whoever does the hiring for the two places should start their own recruitment company – they naturally have an eye for good talent.
The food was spot on and the minor criticisms were just that: minor. The meal was very enjoyable and I’ve thought about that burger quite often since I ate it!
Bin your Nando’s loyalty card and get your butts down to Spatch.
*I was invited for a meal in order to review but as always, my words, thoughts, opinions and compliments are all my very own!