Oozing 70s glamour, as well as molten garlic butter, the chicken Kiev was long thought consigned to history. Not so, say some of London’s best restaurants. All hail the return of the breaded breast.
Perhaps it’s Eurovision, perhaps it’s the fickle nature of food trends, but what goes around comes around, and so, the chicken Kiev is back.
Who invented chicken Kiev?
Chicken Kiev is Ukraine’s single gastronomic offering to the world, and, like the Crimea, there’s some dispute about if it belongs to Ukraine or Russia. Even more unusual, some claim it’s actually a French invention, taken to America and there adapted for Eastern European immigrants as a reminder of home. Basically, no one’s quite sure who or how it came to be.
The best restaurants serving chicken Kiev
Bob Bob Ricard
An iconic Soho restaurant that’s stayed on top of its game for years now, yet still manages to convey a sense of fun – every dining booth has a button marked ‘press for Champagne’. Serving luxury versions of classic English and Russian dishes, its chicken Keiv is a classic example of the dish beautifully presented and topped with a crown of vegetables. Kick things off with a shot of Russian vodka chilled to -18°C (-0.4°F) and a dozen oysters Brezhnev, baked with parmesan and black truffle.
1 Upper James St, Soho, London W1F 9DF, 020 3145 1000
Parlour in Kensal Green opts for the traditional Ukrainian spelling, chicken Kyiv. Owner and chef Jesse Dunford Wood has been cooking his Kyiv’s since 2010 after a research trip to the Ukrainian capital. It comes served with a hash brown and coleslaw, and contains roasted-garlic butter. The full recipe will be in his forthcoming book, Cow Pie and Other Stories, out in September 2017. You can watch Jesse making it here.
5 Regent St, London NW10 5LG, 020 8969 2184
This relaxed neighbourhood bar and restaurant revels in retro, offering comfort food such as ham, egg and chips and of course, a bone-in chicken Kiev. Here it comes with hasselback potatoes and a side of cauliflower cheese. You’ve got to love the fact it also comes with a stick of chewing gum to help deal with all that garlic. Go full 1970s with drinks from their sodastream and the option to play Kerplunk, Guess Who? or Operation in the basement.
70 Exmouth Market, Clerkenwell, London EC1R 4QP, 020 7833 9000
Cute, candlelit, neighbourhood restaurant in Kensington offering classic dishes, including offerings with a twist and with the eponymous Ffiona herself often at the pass. She describes her chicken Kiev as ‘probably the best in the world’.
51 Kensington Church St, Kensington, London W8 4BA, 020 7937 4152
Facts about chicken Kiev
1. It was the first chilled ‘ready meal’ launched by UK supermarket Marks & Spencer in 1979. Back then it cost £1.99, quite a sum of money in those days considering beer was 35p a pint.
2. M&S poultry product developer Cathy Chapman worked on the design, which M&S’ board nearly rejected because of the garlic content.
3. Some Ukrainian chefs believe that garlic and parsley are American and British additions, and choose to omit them from their own versions.
4. In February 2017, a New York Times reporter based in Moscow notices that a stuffed, breaded chicken fillet in the Russian ministry of foreign affairs was labelled Chicken Crimea.
5. In Kiev it’s nearly always made with the bone in, while in the US and UK, supermarket versions are boneless.
So, the Kiev is back, and we eagerly await the return of the prawn cocktail and the Black Forest gâteau.
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