Chicken and waffles. Who knew a simple American meal could divide popular opinion so much? Add maple syrup on top of that and some people will tell you that it is just plain wrong.
As someone who is very proudly #TeamChickenAndWaffles you can imagine my joy when Halal Gems were invited to Ma’Plucker recently to try their food and check out the restaurant. Located just off Oxford Street, Ma’Plucker takes inspiration from America’s Deep South to serve chicken three ways: pulled, rotisserie and buttermilk. The menu is pretty straightforward – choose a base, choose a sauce and choose your chicken.
ZK and I visited on a Wednesday lunchtime to find a fairly empty restaurant (though it was much busier by the time we left) and we were greeted by one of the new waiters and a waitress (I wish I’d caught their names- the service was fantastic!). We were shown around the restaurant and got a behind the scenes look into the kitchen where we met the Head Chef, Adam. As we watched Adam prepare our meals, he talked us through the process of preparing the chicken. It’s always exciting listening to a chef or restaurant owner talk about the food served in their restaurant – their passion for the food and ingredients is incomparable.
I opted for the chicken and waffles as my main course. Ma’Plucker serve half a waffle with the chicken on the side which is different to my experiences of eating chicken and waffles in London (namely at Stax Diner) where a whole waffle is served with the chicken on top.
The buttermilk dipped chicken at Ma’Plucker was crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. My choice of sauce was the maple chilli glaze which was served in a small glass bottle. The chilli didn’t overpower the sweetness of the maple syrup (I almost forgot it had chilli flakes inside until ZK pointed it out in the bottle). The waffle was too light for my liking – I would have preferred it to be a little heavier to give a balance between the taste of the chicken and the waffle in my mouth. Overall, the flavours complemented one another well – the sweetness of the waffle and maple syrup worked well with the savoury chicken which had been coated in a mix of spices.
ZK and I weren’t particularly fond of the rotisserie chicken. It was too bland for my liking and I think it would have been better with some more flavour. The gravy compensated a little but there’s room for improvement here.
I love mash. I could eat mash all day (seriously, I did this a few weeks ago). I think ZK might just love mash as much as I do so
The ‘crack and cheeze’ was ordered out of sheer curiosity. It turned out to be a deep fried ball of mac and cheese – a carb lovers dream! I had my camera ready when ZK cut it open, expecting the cheese to ooze out but it didn’t which was disappointing. An interesting option on the menu but a little dry for my liking – probably not something I’d order again.
For dessert we ordered ‘Ma’s sweet ‘n’ salty popcorn sundae’ and the ‘Scoffle’ – Ma’Plucker’s version of the scone. The popcorn flavoured ice cream took me by surprise and was probably some of the best ice cream I’ve had. Scoops of smooth ice cream were drizzled in a chocolate sauce and topped with popcorn – my dessert stomach was satisfied.
The scoffle was a waffle quarter topped with strawberry jam and a generous helping of cream. The warmth of the waffle with the coolness of the cream created a heavenly dessert which I’ll definitely be ordering again on my next visit.
Ruman eats a brownie a day, but only with coffee. She struggles to eat more than 2/3 of an adult size portion of food, but always has room for dessert. When not exploring restaurants, galleries or cities around the world, Ruman is a Marketing Ninja at Halal Gems, where she also holds the title of Chief Chocolate Officer.
Forever consumed by a mixture of wanderlust and FOMO, her interests include all things social media, travel, charity, photography and food.