If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck… it might be a turkey. A few days ago, I was wandering down Commercial Street after yet another sweaty, ass-kicking workout at Frame (post to come) when a gorgeous storefront caught my eye. I have this thing for gorgeous storefronts. The more color the better. This one was a lovely pastel olive green with two baby olive trees in large pots by the door.
Needless to say, I was intrigued. The name of the establishment written in a scratchy type-face read “Strut and Cluck.” Well, well, I thought, as the image of dozens of chickens pecking the ground on a picturesque, fairy-tale farm flashed across my brain, what do we have here?
I remembered the name of the restaurant and logged it away for a rainy day Google. Lucky for me, I live in London so that rainy day came the next day. With a quick Google search, I found that Strut and Cluck was in fact a restaurant. On a whim of whims, I decided to make a reservation for an early Sunday dinner.
As I continued to peruse the wonderfully designed (and user friendly) website, I was delighted to find that the restaurant had just opened for a “soft opening” and was offering a 50% discount for its soft opening run. Lucky me!
The modus operandi of Strut and Cluck is just that—strut and cluck! The dishes are prepared flawlessly with the sassy flair of Mediterranean flavors (strut) with the lean protein meat of the turkey bird (cluck). I have to admit that I never considered the turkey as anything more than the bane of my existence when Thanksgiving dinner needs cooking or the filler for my avocado and turkey sandwiches.
So imagine my surprise when I had turkey koftas on a bed of gorgeous, deep pink beetroot hummus topped with crunchy okra. Delightful as fork. Josh insisted I try his turkey wings, which were marinated oozing with flavor. The meat fell off the bone, something I never thought possible with turkey!
To rewind, I should also say that the appetizers were equally delicious, albeit it took a bit longer than I would have liked for the appetizers to come out. I suppose I’m used to instant gratification—call me a millennial! But my hanger (hunger + anger) went away the second our food arrived. Besides, that is what a soft opening is about, right? Time to work out the kinks! We had pulled turkey lettuce cups which were seasoned in a way that reminded me of Mexican carnitas followed by a to-die-for roasted aubergine on sourdough bread. And I, being the Little Miss Piggy that I am, also had a watermelon salad with feta cheese, kalamata olives, and mint. So bloody refreshing. I kid you not, I closed my eyes and felt like I was on the island of Crete with the wind blowing in my hair rather than dreadfully grey East London on a dreary Sunday evening (and no, I’ve never been to Crete but a girl can pretend).
The entire time, I noticed a spectacled, middle-aged man scurrying about the restaurant instructing staff and chatting to customers. I knew instinctively that this must be the owner. He stopped to have a chat with us and insisted that we absolutely had to taste the desserts (which, of course we did. Go for the milk pudding with rose and pistachio—it is divine). On our way out, we chatted a bit and I found out that he was a former London School of Economics student. We bonded over our shared schooling and he explained he was a reformed banker who was supporting the real star and chef, his wife Limor. Although I didn’t get to meet Limor Chen, I can say that Amir Chen was gracious and inviting. I certainly hope he’s around if you ever visit and I hope to meet his wife next time!
I’ll put it this way, I went to Strut and Cluck last night and it was so good that I wanted to go back today for lunch. In fact, the couple sitting next to us were in for their second time! The Mediterranean flavors with the unexpected turkey really made for a completely new dining experience. I’m no food critic, but the place is a hit with my belly and a hit with my love of #aesthetic. The décor is cute and understated but comfortable. The food is flavorful and comforting, but all the while fresh and healthy. You can taste the health! No guilty flashes of the treadmill after a meal here! Forget everything you know about turkey—Strut and Cluck just made it 100 times better.