Sweet Chick is an American gourmet chicken and waffles restaurant, I had previously tried its culinary delights on a trip to New York. The first restaurant was opened by John Seymour in 2013, he soon after connected with Nas in 2015 who came onboard the project as financial backer of the restaurant. Together they have opened several restaurants across New York, on the lower east side of Manhattan, Williamsburg, Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, and most recently in Vernon Street Queensbridge, where Nas grew up. In 2017 they opened on Fairfax in Los Angeles and now a new branch has opened overseas here in London, UK. You can imagine my excitement, that little piece of America was coming to my house.
Located just off Oxford Street replacing the Italian Carluccio’s at 8 Market Place, it’s in a prime location for dinners in Fitzrovia. Arriving at the restaurant on a Saturday night it was buzzing as expected. Sweet Chick had only been open for a few weeks so reservations couldn’t be made in advance, which meant we had to wait for an hour and half for a table of four. We signed up and were given a place in the queue through the ‘Walk In’ app which I thought was pretty cool. I didn’t mind the wait, for me it was a good sign if this restaurant was this popular already.
Once inside, the dim lighting and hip interior gave the perfect ambience creating a chilled atmosphere. My eyes instantly caught the pink ‘It Was All A Dream’ neon sign behind the bar, a line taken from Notorious B.I.G’s track – Juicy. It can be found in all Sweet Chick restaurants and it gave me a warm feeling inside. Success had been a dream for rappers such as Biggie Smalls and Nas coming from hardships, but they believed in themselves and kept going to manifest their dreams. Nas has been extending his financial empire with various investments and opening this restaurant in the heart of London shows just how far he has come, and I couldn’t be happier for his success. For me this restaurant chain is a testament to us all to follow our dreams as we can make anything happen.
The staff were super friendly, I asked what it was like working here and they told me, ‘it was like being part of a family and it didn’t feel like it was a job’. I liked that. The good vibes could be seen they danced around serving customers with a smile. I felt very welcomed and this felt like more of a social space than just a restaurant for a quick bite. There was most definitely ‘No Bad Energy’ here.
Looking closely at the drinks menu there was creativity in the cocktail names who those who know about Hip Hop such as, ‘Christopher Wallace’ named after Notorious B.I.G. It would have been nice to see some non-alcoholic cocktails to the menu, but I found there was still a greater selection here such as non-alcoholic beer was sold with a selection of lemonades compared to its New York branches.
There was a lot to try on the menu. We ordered the bucket of biscuits, mac and cheese and chicken chilli for starters, chicken and waffles for the main with cornbread as a side. Vegetarian chicken is available here just like it’s American chains, as well as the chicken being halal which came as good news to many Muslims and vegetarians such as myself! There is also a boneless chicken option. As much as Nas’ music unites us in his spoken word, we weren’t going to be excluded at his eatery.
The food took a while to arrive but once it came, it was evident because of how fresh it was. The biscuits were soft, and the cornbread was moist, it had been worth the wait. The Vegetarian chicken was delicious. I’m not usually a fan of Seitan (a meat substitute) but they somehow make it work well, not too dry and flavourful with a nice texture. The mac and cheese was divine, incredibly rich and creamy. One thing I love about this restaurant is its funky menu, combining ingredients I wouldn’t think of myself not being familiar with this cuisine, my fellow dinners were pleasantly surprised at the sweet and chicken combinations. Probably something you love or hate but I recommend you try. Again I felt like this dinning experience is about getting you out of your comfort zone and trying something different.
I loved the décor, the little things like the waffle iron hanging up and the ghetto blaster amongst figures of chickens on display. There were various posters of artists such as Slick Rick, Raekwon, Rakim and Mobb Deep who had all performed in other Sweet Chick restaurants. I’m hoping we’ll have some special events to look forward to in this London spot. My favourite piece of them all was the ‘no smoking’ sign in the toilets, which was a classic photo of Nas rolling a blunt outside Queensbridge Houses in the original photo.
The whole experience was thoroughly enjoyable, relaxed and social. It brought me back some good memories from my visits to New York and its city vibes. And of course, the soundtrack was perfect upbeat enough to be vibing but not overpowering so conversations couldn’t be had. Music from Del La Soul to Teyana Taylor and more nu skool sounds. I love anywhere I go where I can look up tracks and artists I’m not familiar with and I think Sweet Chick London is going to become one of my regular spots to chill with friends whilst I add to my playlists.