Dominic did not appear in the 1985 list of 100 most popular boys’ names, and it’s certainly not peaking in 2015. In fact it wasn’t until I was at Sixth Form College that I knowingly met another Dominic. I can remember being at Centre Parcs with my parents and asking my Dad while I played five-a-side football if there were even any famous Dominic’s to emulate or whether, because of my name, I was doomed to mediocracy. As such, it’s not often that I’m overshadowed in my role as ‘most famous Dominic in the room’. Yet as I sat down to tuck into some Mother Clucking chicken, a dark shadow was cast over me.
The Cat and Mutton is a very old and very beautiful pub that overlooks London Fields on the corner of Broadway Market, and this beast of a monument to centuries of debauch whisks you back in time as you step over their threshold. With a Victorian interior that wouldn’t seem out of place in an episode of Ripper Street, The Cat and Mutton is currently playing host to the Truman Street beaten up US Ambulance crew, Mother Clucker.
Mother Clucker, despite the name, is a well-respected and much loved purveyor of fried chicken – tea brined, buttermilk soaked, twice battered fried chicken in fact. They’ve been around since 2013, and according to their website, have been reviewed by everyone ‘from Zagat to Conde Nast Traveller’, so maybe my invitation to try their menu was just a cunning ploy to get two Dominic’s in the same room?
I decided on a portion of wings, to share, to start, and rice and peas with corn bread as my main. My dining partner chose the fish gumbo – mainly because we didn’t know what a gumbo was and we like a surprise.
The wings were surprisingly excellent. I say surprisingly because fried chicken is a much imitated and often poorly executed fayre, but this was indeed the cut above they claim it to be. You can’t compare fried chicken based on the chicken, because the focus is on the coating – and they don’t shout about the chicken and its origins, but they do shout about the coating. Their sweet tea marinade and buttermilk coating absolutely separate Mother Clucker from the chasing pack. It was really crisp, plentiful and left a deliciously sweet tang that stayed with you.
While eating my excessively large and perfectly formed starter, I heard footsteps. They were coming my way, but I was so engrossed I wasn’t sure whether to turn my head in case some evil sea gull whipped in through the window and cannibalised my feast. Then I heard the voice. A voice I last heard about two weeks before as I watched him cavort with vampires alongside a long dead Abraham Lincoln.
Dominic Cooper, an arguably more successful and famous Dominic, sat down at the next table, as cool as you like, and proceeded to steal my Dominic thunder. Never one to be beaten though, I ordered another ale and waited for my rice and peas and corn bread.
As I grabbed my folk and dug in I forgot about the shadow, instead my mind was focused on the bbq black eyed peas with crispy kale and sweet potato on a bed of rice. Although I found the dish to be just to my liking, and while bbq is sweet rather than spicy, I fear that some would view it as a little tame. There is an in-house hot sauce, which I’ve been assured is excellent, that can add the desired kick so all is not lost. The fish gumbo was received very positively by my dining partner, and the corn bread was shared and a great side for both dishes.
The Cat and Mutton is a beautiful pub where you can enjoy some of the best fried chicken in London, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get sat next to a Dominic too.
The Cat and Mutton
76 Broadway Market
London E8 4QJ