Almost every other block in London has a chicken restaurant, whether it’s Nando’s (they’re all over the place, unfortunately), Clockjack Oven, Bird, or Chickenshop. However, another bird is making its debut in London – turkey.
Strut & Cluck, which has free range turkey dishes on its menu, has thrown open its doors in trendy Shoreditch. It bills itself as a restaurant inspired by eastern Mediterranean home cooking, as well as dishes that come from the Israeli owners’ own family.
On a strip of Commercial Street that has Nando’s and Costa right across the street, and the posh Hawksmoor next door, Strut & Cluck is a warm and cozy restaurant that has a relaxed, cool ambiance and is easy on the eyes. The story behind the idea of the restaurant is based on mom and family chef, Limor, who started serving her family turkey as a healthy alternative to chicken. Thus the restaurant Strut & Cluck was hatched.
Giving it a try a week after its official opening, me and my dining companion were welcomed by the friendly staff to the back section of the restaurant – an indoor porch-like setting – with wooden tables and large bay windows. We were presented with a cup of Arak – a sweetened anise-flavored alcoholic drink. It was sweet and had a bit of a zing to it. We then ordered four starters and two main courses from a menu that categorises its food as Nibbles (light starters such as olives and popcorn), Roasted & Tossed (Mediterranean taster dishes), On the Bone (Turkey), and No Bones (pastrami, kofta, escalope and schnitzel). The star starter was definitely the Charred Cauliflower – cauliflower that’s been charcoaled, with lemon zest infused créme fraiche, nigella seeds, and pomegranate. I’ve not eaten anything like it before, it was stunning. We ordered the half portion and it was enormous! Also delivered to us was a dish called Far East-Middle East – lettuce cups filled with spicy hand pulled turkey, topped with roasted almonds, pomegranate and Labneh (Lebanese cream cheese). It was a bit spicy yet cool and delicious. We also had Spread of Labneh, which came with cherry tomatoes and sourdough dipping bread.
The mains were just as fabulous. We decided to share as it would’ve been a crime not too. Limor’s Classic Slow-Roast Thigh turkey was simply superb. It’s a large turkey thigh, served on a bed of caramelised red onions with sweet potatoes. The skin was crispy while the inside was very moist and tender. We also ordered the Hand-pulled Shawarma with dates and pine nuts, served on a bed of freekeh (wheat) and a dollop of Labneh. It was a true Mediterranean dish encompassing many regions. The table next to us, meanwhile, had ordered the Charcoal-Grilled Escalope, and it looked scrumptious.
After feeling absolutely stuffed and satisfied, we went for desert. The staff recommended a Baked Haroset (a small cake made of fruits and nuts which is usually served as a Passover dish), and Seasonal Fruit (charcoaled!). I was served plums over almond crumble with a scoop of ice cream (gelato if you want – I went for the passionfruit). The almond crumble that came with it was dry and flaky and hard to eat with the fruit – perhaps a syrup or cherry sauce would’ve given it more of a flavor? The Haroset, of Palestinian origin, which was nut and apple grated, is also served with either ice cream or gelato. While it did not wow us, it was nice, light, and not too large. There’s also a selection of excellent cool, refreshing cocktails, some with ingredients such as turkey bourbon, fruit jam, and jalapeños! Beers, wines and juices are also offered.
Why Strut & Cluck over those cloney chicken places? Turkeys are a super food, being one of the most nutrient-dense sources of protein. Turkey also contains essential amino acids as well as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and iron, and is also a great source of lean protein. It also contains all the B vitamins, and Strut & Clucks’ turkeys contain no growth promoters or artificial additives.
Our waiter Francesco was very friendly and explained the unique and unusual menu to us. With starters costing in the range of £5 and £8 and mains no higher than £12, Struck & Cluck is a very affordable, and excellent, lunch or dinner choice. It’s a journey of flavours that your taste buds will not have experienced before. In Israel, Turkey is eaten all the time, in America it’s pretty much eaten on Thanksgiving, however, in London, it’s practically unseen and unheard of. With Strut & Cluck, founded by husband and wife Amir and Limor, let’s hope that this will change, as Struck & Cluck fuses together turkey and Mediterranean flavors, with an emphasis on Israeli food. Strut & Cluck is a delicious, sensible, and much much better alternative to Nandos!
Strut and Cluck has seating for over 70 people, and there is also a ten-seater private dining room).
Reviewed by: Tim Baros
Address: 151-153 Commercial St, Shoreditch, London E1 6BJ
Phone: 020 7078 0770