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.
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.
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.
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!