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Stagolee’s Hot Chicken and Liquor Joint

stagolees Stagolee’s is an American restaurant and we have plenty of those in the UK, ranging from dubious to excellent in quality. But Stagolee’s is unlike all those other US-inspired eateries. This spot will introduce the diner to a different face of American food but a truly authentic one, and you’ll likely not find these vibrant dishes in any other place.

This is a Joint, a shack. It doesn’t have padded banquettes, starched tablecloths and sniffy waiters. It welcomes with smiles, scrubbed tables and benches, and memorable food and cocktails. The bar is small but the shelves are stacked with Moonshines, bourbons and spirits from across the Pond. This will be a magnet for any lover of rye or for those who want to learn more about that and other celebrated American drinks.

Chef Ashley James offers Londoners a taste of the South. No, not Bournemouth but the southern states of the USA. This is home cooking and comforting food made from grandmothers’ recipes – the grandmothers in question being those of Ashley and her partner Jordan.

stagolees We started with Hot Spinach Dip with cheese and artichokes, and it’s a classic. It’s light and flavourful served with tortilla chips, and it’s a winner. Devilled Eggs are another standard and a deliciously piquant take on stuffed eggs, a childhood favourite at Sunday teatime. Pimento Cheese Spread is called the caviar of the South; I had heard of it but never tried it. One taste and you will be on the road to culinary addiction. It’s savoury, well textured and downright tasty. It’s a must-try here.

Cornmeal Battered Fried Fish is already well loved by the increasing number of regulars at Stagolee’s. The coating is perfectly seasoned and crunchy, and there is a garnish of watermelon pickle which was another revelation. I am hoping that Stagolee’s will consider selling this by the jar!

stagolees Hot Fried Chicken is the undoubted showpiece here. It truly is hot and is the best fried chicken I have ever had. There is nothing timid about this moist plateful. It packs a punch but that heat doesn’t mask flavour. An order comprises a couple of sizable pieces of chicken, and there are sides on offer too.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese is creamy and piping hot. It’s a foil for the spice of the chicken. Southern-style Greens with smoked ham works well with both the fish and the chicken, and it’s not short of meaty taste and hearty bite. Cornbread is a southern classic and it’s sweet and light at Stagolee’s, and will doubtless have many an American tearfully reminiscing. It almost had me in that condition and I have never been south of the Mason Dixon Line.

stagolees But what is a meal without dessert? Peach Cobbler was the dessert of the day and it’s another Southern staple. This was fruity and moreish. The menu changes to take advantage of the best produce, so perhaps the special will be apple pie or key lime pie next time.

Ashley’s Hip made with Bulleit Bourbon is named after Stagolee’s soon-to-be-famous chef. It’s sweet and delicate but it’s undoubtedly alcoholic. But Mountain ’Rita will likely become a signature cocktail here. This makes use of the same spices around the rim as on the chicken, and the drink is spiked with jalapeño chilli. This is a Margherita with attitude; it’s not for the faint of heart and I can guarantee that one will never be enough.

Stagolee’s Hot Chicken and Liquor Joint is a couple of bus rides from chez nous but I’ll be a regular there. Chef Ashley, Jordan and their team deserve to be proud of this cosy corner of Fulham. It’s a welcome and truly unique addition to London’s restaurant scene.

Phone: (0)20 3092 1766

Opening times:
CLOSED Monday and Tuesday
Wednesday and Thursday: 5:30pm to 10pm
Friday: 5:30pm to 10:45pm
Saturday: 11am to 3pm for Brunch and 5:30pm to 10:45pm for Supper
Sun: 11am to 3pm for Brunch and 5:30pm to 10:00pm for Supper

Stagolee’s Hot Chicken and Liquor Joint
453 North End Road

Visit Stagolee’s Hot Chicken and Liquor Joint here.

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