Growing up, every Monday on my way home from netball practice I’d stop off at the local Morrison’s at around 8pm. 8pm was a special time in the Wetherby branch. At 8pm they’d take all the hot plate food out, bag it and slash the prices by about 90%. Greed was probably my predominant adolescent quality and so I’m sure you can appreciate what an exciting time this was for me. I’d grab all sorts to scoff, but my very favourite was always the whole rotisserie chickens. Browned and dripping, sweet and succulent, I’d inhale one whole before my bus had even arrived. I never really thought more about the rotisserie chicken. That was it; part of my weekly tapestry, peculiar to the Wetherby Morrisons and nothing more.
I certainly never, when slurping these slippery morsels, appreciated the rich heritage dish of the rotisserie chicken nor knew it was a French one that dated as far back as 1248 and the court of King Louis IX. In fact, this only came to me recently, when invited to try out a riverside restaurant in Canary Wharf, Le Secret des Rotisseurs. Le Secret is a family run, achingly French establishment. When told this, I’d expected a poky, quaint venue and was surprised to find a huge, ultra-modern space, glass fronted onto the Thames. The dining room is staged by the hugest, most beautifully engineered custom rotisseries, upper balconies hosting chairs taken from the Eifel Tower and an open fronted wine cellar. Filled totally with Bordeaux, of course. The family are from that region and source all the wines themselves from some smaller, lesser known vineyards.
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The menu is small: rotisserie chicken or lamb, a few simple sides and a choice of 3-4 starters and desserts. Here, roasting is King and rules unashamedly; bronzed, glistening and slowly turning on its spitted throne.
We ordered everything. The starters were perfectly tasty, but were thoroughly outshone by what followed. Delicious, pink lamb with crisp frites, buttered garlic haricots verts and crisp, salted roasted potatoes. All simply served and tasting exactly as they should. But the chicken, oh the chicken was something different. Brown, glazed skin, crispy wing tips and moist, firm flesh that emitted stocky juice with every bite and lacking the sliminess I remember from my Morrisons days. The family inject some sort of ‘secret sauce’ into the bird for extra juice; apart from tarragon and definitely garlic, I couldn’t tell you what was in it but it sure tasted good. Beyond good really –this is how chicken is meant to taste. 
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Desserts continued in the same vein. Giant profiteroles stuffed with vanilla ice-cream and accompanied with a bitter chocolate sauce. Madeleines made to order and served from the oven to your table, soft, chewy and immense with almond. I’ve never had freshly baked madeleines before and these, alongside the chicken, were the stars of the night for me. Dipped in the profiterole sauce, I’d walk all the way from Clapham for them. 

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To summarise; Le Secret des Rotisseurs excels in what it does: spectacle and simple tastes. Its small menu, centred on roasting, demands that each one of its dishes be quality and assuredly everything I tried was. 


Rating: 7.5/10

www.eatlesecret.co.uk/
Canary Riverside Westferry Circus, London E14 8RR
020 7719 0950

PS – Most excitingly; if you want something special roasted, like a suckling pig (!!!), just let them know and they’ll roast to order for you and your party!

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