Pecking Order (Brunch & Rotisserie) – Stanmore
THIS RESTAURANT HAS SINCE CLOSED DOWN
Ever since our first visit to Pecking Order in October of last year, when we had the pleasure of tasting an innovative array of extremely impressive starters, we’ve been waiting patiently of any news of them having upgraded that part of their menu which ultimately defines this restaurant, i.e. their unique rotisserie chicken, to the status of Halal.
Well, we’re pleased to announce that the wait is finally over!
Hence, our return to Stanmore was inevitable, particularly after also learning of the introduction of their newly conceived brunch menu.
Starting with the Homemade Pink Lemonade, we felt that this was far too watered down by the volume of ice. And though the strong, refreshing smell of lemons came through, it didn’t quite translate over into taste.
The Bonnie Lassi was equally disappointing. The major shortcoming with this was how sour it all tasted, which essentially resulted from a non-sweet mango being amalgamated with a sour milk base.
And the Nojito was arguably the worst of the three. This was sickly minty with nothing by way of lime or lemon to counter all that excess. And to rub mint in the wound, it came with a thin straw which, consequently and quite annoyingly, periodically got blocked by the small bits of ice therein. Terrible!
Despite a year having passed, things haven’t improved, but worsened in the drink’s department, which is a real shame.
BRUNCH (WEEKENDS ONLY)
The smell of avocado, so fresh and evocative, is the first thing to hit you with this scrumptious little posh toastie.
The mix of diced avocado and crunchy red onions, the sprinkling of herbs, and a light dusting of chilli flakes went really well with the lovely rich yoke of a poached egg which, we felt, was a tad underdone (a perfectly poached egg has a firm white and a gooey-cum-runny yolk).
The crusty, toasted bread base, however, was a perfect foil to the soft, creamy richness of the Smashed Avocado topping.
The freshly made muffins – firm with a nice bite to ’em – were topped with vibrant orange strips of folded salmon, a poached egg, and generously smothered in a deliciously rich, creamy and lemony hollandaise sauce.
A wonderfully balanced brunch dish. Just don’t forget to add pepper before diving in.
NOTE: The original dish is served with bacon, so be sure to inform the waiter before ordering.
It’s a shame that an alternative to said bacon, e.g. turkey rashers, isn’t currently available, since we can certainly appreciate how well the addition of a smoky piece of such crispy meat would go with the sweet waffle and maple syrup, the gooey richness of the poached egg yoke, and the earthiness of the lightly drizzled truffle oil.
But, as it stands, the chicken fillet, with its ultra-crispy herb crust, was as soft as you like on the inside, and went really well with the soft, freshly made waffle underneath.
As a suggestion, however, we’d request slightly more syrup than it appears in the above pic.
The one thing that was conspicuously absent from the burgers we tried the first time we visited were the Brioche buns, which have since been ditched for the more robust seeded potato versions.
The following two veggie burgers are new additions to their menu, and, thus, had to be had.
The meticulous construction of this Black Turtle Bean burger was immediately noticeable from its cross-section which revealed perfectly defined layers that included a bean patty which, though densely packed, was soft on the inside, and coated in a crispy golden herby breadcrumb coating.
But, what really made this veggie burger sing was the combination of the sweet caramelised onion marmalade topped with a thin layer of gooey cheese, the right level of heat delivered by the honey chipotle sauce, and the crunchiness of the red onion ring.
All in all, a legitimate gourmet burger experience!
Difficult to fault this!
In terms of flavour, the entire thing married so well together. What we had here was a flaky tuna patty nestled in between a layer of soft, creamy avocado, a thick, juicy tomato, all of which rested on top of a layer of what seemed to us to be like an addition of tuna paste.
Add to this the sweetness of a sauce intended to counteract the saltiness of the well seasoned tuna patty, the crunch of a red onion ring, and what you have as a final product is one that is certain to tantalise your taste buds!
In the end, all we can say is, what a difference a year can make. Our first review had us criticising two of the three non-veggie burgers tried, with one being adjudged a culinary right off. This time, however, we’ve been presented with two outstanding veggie options that easily rival some of the best burgers we’ve ever had.
Did we say outstanding? Outstanding!
But this section, of course, is the reason for our return.
There aren’t many quality restaurants we know of in London that offer Halal rotisserie chicken, and now, finally, we get the chance to try some…
If only you knew how much we deliberated and debated over the reason why, in the end, we were collectively left disappointed.
It’s true that, given the above outstanding brunch and veggie burgers, we approached this moment with overinflated expectations; but, really, can you blame us? After all, we’d waited a year for this chance.
We were simply hoping for far more than we got from this plate of good looking chicken.
And the looks continued to deceive because despite the deep orange marination, this chicken only managed to deliver an extremely subtle herby taste. As a result, what was required to compensate for this lack of flavour were the following two sauces.
The Smoking Jalapeno had a sweet, pleasant heat to it, while the heat from the pungent Habanero sauce caught up with us in a hurry.
And it didn’t get any better either with the two variety of chickens on this Southern Style platter.
Take the main component of this tray, i.e. the fried chicken. For one, the crust, though coated in herbs, lacked any real strength of flavour; and secondly, the meat was again a little on the dry side. What’s worse is that the house gravy, in spite of its smooth, viscous consistency, was a little on the salty side too.
Similarly, the chicken strips’ crunchy exterior was a little too crusty, and, truth be told, fairly dry.
The skinny fries were nice and crunchy, but unexceptional, or as one Lion described them “bog standard”.
As for the house slaw, then while it was described as “bland” by one, the other Lions considered it nicely made with a subtle taste and a good crunchy makeup.
All in all, a disappointing tray.
Although not strictly speaking a fondant given its dense nature, some luscious liquid chocolate did manage to ooze out upon being cut open.
All this, coupled with the tasty dollop of soft ice cream, combined to deliver a rather tasty and satisfying dessert.
This Chocolate Brownie was more a cake than a brownie, and ultimately lacked that gooey, far denser, fudge-like texture so familiar of a well made brownie.
Nonetheless, the nuts therein gave this a good contrast, with the ice cream – drizzled with caramel sauce – being smooth and silky.
Of the two, however, it was the fondant that turned out triumphant in this choc-o-war.
- YES/ YES
- CHILD SEATING
And in light of our previous visit, our patience, and the outstanding brunch dishes and unique veggie burgers we tasted this time round, you can imagine how high our expectations were by the time we got to see this poultry in the flesh.
Sadly, and much to our collective disappointment, the rotisserie chicken simply didn't live up to our hopes. Its ultimate failure? Not delivering on the flavours of a well marinated chicken, nor turning out as juicy and as succulent as our expectations deserved.
Having said that though, and moving past their beverages, the new brunch menu they've introduced is absolutely stunning, while their veggie burgers a triumph.
And in light of the equally triumphant starters we had the first time around, we'd still recommend visiting Pecking Order all the way.
Although this branch has since closed down, Pecking Order is still going strong in Edgware and is fully Halal: The Hive, Camrose Avenue, Edgware HA8 6AG.
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