American chef Ashley Abodeely is executive chef at NoMad London in Covent Garden, the first overseas outpost of the luxury hotel brand. She’s been with the hotel group for over a decade, working at its hotels in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas. Here in London, she’s in charge of the hotel’s suite of bars and restaurants: the heartstoppingly beautiful atrium restaurant; Side Hustle, the fun Mexican-inspired pub; and
Common Decency, one of London’s most opulent new bars.
The whole roast Creedy Carver chicken is quite the splurge at £98 for two, but this dish – in various iterations – has been a NoMad signature from the start. And for good reason. Abodeely has cooked thousands of them over the years but her eyes still widen as she describes the preparation. The London version must surely be the most lavish, stuffed at it is with homemade brioche, foie gras and black truffle, butter tucked under the skin which to fry it to near glass-like. It’s served with a salad of mixed greens, a little salad of freekeh, pickled corn, grilled corn, chanterelle mushrooms, the drumstick and the thigh.
“It’s indulgent, it’s delicious. Chicken can be relatively boring and people can make it at home, but we try to do it in a way you wouldn’t at home, so you really feel like you’re going out big. We tried a different stuffing at the beginning of the year with rosemary and garlic but it did not get the same reception. People were like “Where’s the truffle? Where’s the foie?””
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Really, it’s more than a dish, it’s a performance, an experience, with the roasted bird presented to the table so you can see it and smell it. “We basically give you the whole chicken. We give you a croquette of the leg and thigh, the chicken breast, and we also do an egg in a coddler with the roasted chicken fat, the drippings, which we turn into a sabayon, a beautiful foam, inside of the egg.” Most take home leftovers for breakfast. “I hope with a fried egg,” says Abodeely.
She also does a “high-low” play on the famous chicken as a bar snack at Common Decency: croquettes of the leg and thigh braised into a bechamel and served with truffle mayonnaise. “For when you want something salty and delicious and rich and melt in your mouth.”
The roast chicken at the NoMad restaurant is cooked to order and takes 45 minutes. A little snacky something to keep you going would be crudités with chive crème fraîche, or smoked trout pâté with potato chips.