REVIEW: Gallus Empire of Chicken, Charing Cross Road, Soho

There are a serious amount of new restaurants opening in London at the moment. Really, its getting rather scary. In the last two years i have been incapable of keeping track of them, and websites such as Hot Diners, Time Out, Zomato and Square Meal do a very good job, but must have an army of people setting behind a desk all day inputting them. Fast food is especially is big business. All the cheap and nasty stuff will always be around certain areas to fill a void but in central London – its slowly becoming a thing of the past. The question is, how will they all survive as it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.A friend said to me recently “when are you going to review some more bad restaurants”. The truth is, there is becoming less and less of them. With good detective skills (blogs, critic’s etc) you can easily avoid a bad meal. It’s just the new ones you have to worry about. On the dreary Tottenham Court Road, just a stones throw from Soho a new fast food/casual dining restaurant has just opened, Gallus Empire of Chicken. A name which is hard to take seriously – and may be its biggest struggle, because the food is good.

From the outside, with its garish purple facade actually lies a lovely restaurant inside (if somewhat a little comical), but it has a fun side – and i like this. With a mythical Greek/Roman décor taking flavour inspiration from around the globe the focus here is not grilled or fried, but oven baked chicken – and lots of it. We took a seat, and because of its décor we never thought we’d be ordering from the counter. It just doesn’t have that feel – i think from the point of going up to the counter, ordering your food and sitting down, someone needs to be around to bring extras. Much like Grill Shack in Soho (great concept, spot on service, but i hated the food).

I popped up to the counter and put in my order, i really did order an empire of chicken. For a competitively priced £19.65 you’ll receive a huge platter of six chicken skewers, eight wings and four sides. The skewers and wings can be marinated in a choice of sauces and rubs with flavours from different continents across the globe. Our skewers were succulent, loads of meat on them and the marinades were really very good.  Sauce wise the Gallus house blend of lime, chill, honey and ginger was our favourite on the skewers alongside the tandoori masala spice mix which had a nice bit of heat – though maybe not that traditional, but it tasted good.

Our wings were just as juicy, maybe even better – depending how messy you like your meal. Cajun BBQ rub with a sticky marinade was by far the favourite of the table. It was sweet, had a little bit of spice and was undoubtedly, sticky. Jerk was nice, but i’m a big jerk chicken fan and this needed a little more work. Gallus’s house marinade also worked wonders on the juicy wings.

Sides came to the table on an incredibly huge scale. Four gigantic sized bowls filled to the brim. Roman wedges had a nice seasoning and were cooked well with a good crunch. Beetroot and onion salad was sweet and fresh, but simple – and missing the onion.

The citrus spiced cous cous was actually very good. Really juicy, well cooked and had bags of flavour. The star was the humble corn on the cob. Smothered (and i mean that) in a spicy butter, which was practically pouring out all over the table with each bite – it was fantastic. My only criticism, not to the fabulous corn on the cob, but to the selection of sides on offer, would be to maybe remove one of the cold salads options for something that is hot, giving more variety.

We weren’t quite finished yet. we still had a Gallus chicken burger to get through. It was actually a very strange burger. Instead of being a chicken breast it was instead a minced chicken burger which had been flavoured with lime, chilli and honey and topped with their Gallus sauce. The bun was good, but i just wasn’t sure about the texture of the chicken. I have seen it a lot recently, most notably in Japanese restaurants but i’m not quite sold. The butterflied chicken breast is a much better option in my opinion.

We were just about to finish up and leave when we were brought a absolutely delicious frozen yoghurt. The sour yoghurt had a choice of toppings from strawberry and pepper to dried banana and sticky toffee sauce. Our favourite was the liquid filled mango balls which burst in your mouth with each bite, some fun popping candy and a delicious orange curd. Great on a summers day. If you are in the area and looking for a quick meal, especially chicken then get down to Gallus and stuff your face. If Gallus ever decided to roll out a chain i could see it being very successful.


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