Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Stagolee's - authentic Southern US food, liquor & hospitality #review

They had me at "fried chicken." I scanned the rest of the email inviting me to visit Stagolee's Hot Chicken and Liquor Joint in Fulham, London this week but to be honest, I was never gonna say no to someone offering me authentic Southern fried chicken.

It turns out that this delightful restaurant on North End Road, decorated with old family photos which make you wish you were a family member, is not just another fried chicken joint selling pale and greasy portions.

This is groan out loud, better than sex fried chicken which makes you not only lick your own fingers but possibly those of the diner next to you as well. No grease but moist meat with a massively moreish coating leaving you wishing you had worn even stretchier trousers so you could cram just one more piece in your mouth.

fried chicken at Stagolee's London, restaurant review

 Brined for 24 hours, dipped in buttermilk, dipped in a family-created blend of flavourings and spices and skillet fried, with or without heat and HEAT. Are you brave enough to tackle the very hot Tom Devil chicken? I was not!

Oh but there's more. Under the expert care of the very smiley and food-passionate Chef Ashley using age-old family recipes and not a little of her own flair, Stagolee's offers home-sick Americans a true  and comprehensive taste of Southern hospitality.

Chef Ashley at Stagolee's London, Restaurant review

Choose from an array of authentic dishes like grits, corn bread, creamed corn, mac and cheese, catfish, hash browns, buttermilk pancakes and collard greens.

Ahhhhh. Those collard greens. Like everything else in the restaurant (with the one and only exception of the crinkle cut fries) these are home made from scratch even down to the smoking of the ham hock.

collard Greens at Stagolee's London, US restaurant

You can taste the smoke and I could eat this as a standalone dish but why would you do that when the are so many exciting dishes on both the supper and brunch menus?

Back to the chicken. Let me pause for a moment as I remember the crispy gloriousness of that chicken, mounted on sweet soft cornbread which was better than any I had in America!

corn bread at Stagolee's Fulham London

Generously sized portions of chicken are sourced from a local (Halal) butcher and two pieces offering the equivalent meat of 4 pieces from your average fried chicken place cost just £5.95!  The only problem then is deciding on sides. I can recommend the carrot salad which is sweet and tangy and complemented the smoke of the greens.

carrot salad at Stagolee's Fulham, London

Tempting as it is to order everything, make sure you leave room for dessert. Bonuts are made with butter and biscuit dough, fried and sugared. Dipped in whipped cream as an indulgent treat. Or maybe go pie- the key lime was awesome!

Bonuts at Stagolee's Fulham, London, authentic Southern US food #review

And forget the usual drinks - Stagolee's excels when it comes to quirky US booze with some grand and unusual liquors including Eagle Rare Single Barrel 10, Dad's Hat Pennsylvania Rye Vermouth, TJ Pottinger Sugar Shine, Vanilla Moonpie liquor and Georgia Moon Peach.

moonshine and bourbon at Stagolees Fulham

Beers - can't beat a Pabst to wash down fried chicken or my fave non-alcoholic choice, house-made sweet tea.

I may have thoroughly sampled the cocktail menu with Ashley's Hip the chef's signature cocktail hitting one spot (Bullet bourbon, St Germain, Velvet Falernum and Fee Brothers Bitters) while the  smooooooth Expresso Moontini ht a whole load of other spots.  Containing chocolate and vanilla Moonpie Moonshines, Mr Black coffee liqueur and double expresso this is a dream for anyone with a sweet tooth.

Trust me, this place is going places - get in now before it becomes impossible to get in ahead of US expats, American tourists and fans of authentic food and liquor with a generous side order of real southern hospitality.

If you need any form of excuse, National Fried Chicken Day is on July 6, 2017. Stagolee's also offers specialities to celebrate American holidays (but I gather the restaurant will be closed on 4th July).

Check out the website for more mouth-watering menu information, directions, opening hours and information on how to book.

cocktails at Stagolee's

Disclaimer: I was invited to eat and drink at Stagolee's free for the purpose of this honest review.



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