Ma’Plucker – Soho
RESTAURANT CLOSED DOWN (JAN 2019)
Even the loo exuded charm with its quirky bright blue florescent sign reading, ‘Ma’s boys’!
We even found large wooden coat hooks for us to hang our blazers unabashedly emblazoned with our cute little Feed the Lion badges – hah!
We couldn’t help but be impressed by the setup though, particularly when we were told that it opened only five months ago on 02 August.
And things must be going pretty well too because we also came to learn that they have plans of opening not just another Ma’Plucker in London, but also two across the Middle East.
Putting aside the extensive list of alcoholic beverages on offer, there wasn’t very much for the teetotalers to satiate their thirst, particularly the health conscious ones. Perhaps we deliberated a little longer than necessary, or perhaps the astute waitress saw we were struggling to make up our minds. Whatever it was, she quickly stepped in to recommend their Iced Teas. We in return opted for cranberry, as well as lemon and cinnamon.
Unfortunately, these weren’t the finest we’d ever tasted. While we just about picked up the cranberry, the same wasn’t the case with the latter where the lemon was entirely lost among the barely noticeable cinnamon.
With a beautifully crispy, golden exterior, this delicately seasoned concoction (though don’t forget to season to your taste) was deliciously creamy and buttery on the inside with the pasta cooked to perfection (neither too soft and mushy, nor al dente).
If you’re looking for something different, then this is definitely one to order.
Mixed views on these three.
Though there was no disputing the fact that the fries were standard at best, there was disagreement over the other two.
Regarding Ma’s Slaw, then this apple coleslaw, while being well seasoned, was considered sufficiently creamy by some, but not others. It was, nevertheless, fresh, crunchy and flavoursome.
The seasonal greens were a strange assortment of what tasted like spinach and broccoli leaves coated in a very strong and pungent vinaigrette. Probably an acquired taste for some, but this just seemed to overpower everything within the vicinity!
An interesting assortment of in-house sauces with some better than others.
Let’s start at the top with the Herb Dressing. With the mild flavour of garlic in the background, this had a taste and texture similar to slightly watered down yoghurt.
The Chipotle Chilli was, overall, rather subtle in comparison to, say, The Meating Room’s, which really packed a punch. Not sure if this was by design, but if it wasn’t then they might want to revisit this one.
The Maple Chilli Glaze was pretty satisfying though. With sprinkles of chilli flakes, it was good to find these didn’t overpower the maple syrup, but enhance it.
The consensus, however, was that the Kansas BBQ was the winner here – viscousy, strong, pungent, heady, BBQ-ey and tangy. This really would make a mean glaze too.
The Chicken Skin Gravy was, however, just that, gravy, with nothing to rave about. It has to be said though that given the following main, you’d probably need a sizable quantity of this. What a relief that this came in a relatively large pouring jar!
In spite of the pleasant flavour delivered by the chipotle rub, this turned out dry (as is clearly evident from the pic), and the skin non-crispy.
Hence, as we said, the need for lots of gravy!
Not quite as moist as it should have been, but still far better than its Rotisserie cousin.
The breadcrumb exterior was beautifully crispy and fragrant.
A simple burger, yes, but one that certainly worked.
This version of the relatively mundane halloumi was a nice little package. It was thick with a lovely crispy exterior that was packed full of a combination of herbs and spices that we were struggling to deconstruct. What we were able to pick up though, we think, were hints of basil, thyme, pepper, and a subtle sort of aniseed flavour somewhere yonder.
The cheese was large, but very well cooked with a creamy-type texture to it.
Absolutely loved the idea of pulled chicken being served with fresh waffles à la Stax Diner’s fried chicken and waffles with maple syrup from down the road. But, did Ma’Plucker manage to match this in terms of conception and execution? Well, not quite with this one.
Firstly, the waffles weren’t as crispy and as well cooked. Secondly, the idea of putting sweet with sweet, i.e. waffles with hickory BBQ spiced chicken, didn’t quite work. That’s not to say it wasn’t a decent eat, it’s just that it needed something to offset all that sweetness! A good effort nonetheless for trying at least to think outside the proverbial box and for presenting something original.
This combination, however, certainly did work.
Not only was the Buttermilk dipped crispy coating of the chicken pieces charred enough to counter some of the sweetness, but the addition of gravy ultimately solved the problem.
Don’t you just love the way this is presented? Not quite the cherry pie from Twin Peaks we suspect. We’ve certainly tasted better.
But it wasn’t that bad either. We suspect this was pre-made and just warmed through, hence the reason why the pastry came across as soft and doughy in texture. Vanilla ice cream was average.
Now, when they said Cornflakes and Caramel Sundae, we weren’t expecting them to be so, how can this be put.. literal!
Simply presented, yes, but this, believe it or not, ACTUALLY WORKED!!!
Who would have thought that throwing cornflakes on ice cream with caramel sauce (according to the waitress; though it tasted more like honey to us), sitting at the bottom for good measure, could be tasty! And yet, if you just take a step back and think about it, cornflakes and ice cream has to work doesn’t it? In effect, what happens here is that the distinct flavour of cornflakes kicks in later, with a lovely textural contrast.
Again, innovation that’s come off!
And again, being imaginative and presenting something which, if one saw on a menu, one would feel compelled to order due to the originality of it.
Not quite as good as the above vis–à–vis execution. The sweet and saltiness of the popcorn ice cream just about came through, and with the addition of sweet popcorn, this was really quite nice. But what spoiled this for us was the dark chocolate syrup, and lashings of it too, which seemed to overpower every mouthful. Might be a good idea to either replace this with a flavour that’s far milder, or lose it altogether.
- YES/ YES
- CHILD SEATING
Fine; not everything's come off, nor was everything executed as well as it should have been, but even while acknowledging the obvious, i.e. there's always going to be room for improvement for a place that's only been going for five months, we believe it has the foundations pretty well set for long term success provided they do the fundamentals right and, most importantly, consistently.
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