The Holy Birds is a brand new bar and restaurant concept launched by the award-winning bar & restaurant entrepreneurs Gerry & Jon Calabrese of Calabrese Holdings Group. The Holy Birds is a unique dining experience, inspired by the 1960’s London music & art scene and the city’s only restaurant to specialise in poultry. In a first for The Calabrese Brothers, legendary bartender Salvatore Calabrese has collaborated with his sons to create an extensive cocktail menu for the new venture.
The Holy Birds is set on the historic Petticoat Lane Market, over two floors with restaurant, bar, lounge and private dining rooms against the backdrop of a meticulously-designed interior by DTWO Design, inspired by the 60s Danish modernist movement.
Upstairs The Holy Birds restaurant is London’s first poultry dining experience, offering a mouthwatering menu of locally-sourced, free-range birds including everything from duck and grouse to wood pigeon, quail and pheasant, and of course chicken.
Downstairs cocktail lounge The Mule Bar offers late-night refreshment, decorated with a mix of original mid-century furnishings and bespoke design with an extensive menu of authentic cocktails from the era to put The Holy Birds firmly on the map of London’s drinking scene. The Holy Birds is the collaborative brainchild of Gerry Calabrese, Managing Director of Calabrese Holdings and Jon Calabrese, Head of Operations for the company.
Upon entering the dining room I am immediately taken aback by the visually arresting chandelier hanging in the centre of the space. This gigantic lighting feature and the Sixties modernist furnishings create a swinging vibe ideally suited to convivial dining.
The open kitchen allows guests to get closer to the action with a clear view of the hustle and bustle of the talented chefs at work in their culinary element. In the background there is an unobtrusive Sixties soundtrack playing and the waitresses wear retro diner-style uniforms. It’s like stepping back in time.
To start, my host Andrew recommends I try the Duck Breast Carpaccio. This intriguing dish is wafer thin pieces of duck breast drizzled with olive oil with sprinkling of hazelnuts and served with a light fresh salad.
The dish has a wonderful balance of textures with the meltingly soft duck breast, crunch of the hazelnuts and refreshing burst of freshness of the refreshing salad of watercress, rocket and fennel.
Moving on to the main, my host recommends the Half Rotisserie Chicken with his favourite brine of Smoky Paprika. The bird is brined for up to 24 hours then air dried adding bags of flavour and juicy texture to the meat and keeping the breast (and everything else) supremely tender.
A pleasing saltiness and depth of flavour permeates through the flesh of the chicken right to the bone. It’s no wonder this is one of the most popular dishes on the menu and judging from my fellow diners I wasn’t the only one to enjoy the supreme succulence of The Holy Birds Rotisserie Chicken.
To accompany this fine serving of succulence, I order the creamy Colcannon which comes with a healthy dose of cabbage mixed through the mashed potato. I also order a serving of buttery seasonal greens which complements the dish beautifully. On my host’s recommendation I included extra gravy with my order which is so rich in flavour that it adds yet another layer of tantalising aromas to an already sumptuous taste tingler.
Having just enough room for dessert, I order the Hot Chocolate Pudding with Kirsch and Cherry Sauce. From the description, I couldn’t help but choose this dessert especially with its reminiscence of retro black forest gateau.
The decadent dark chocolate fondant with its molten core is complemented by plump juicy cherries soaked in kirsch adding to the richness of this perfect winter dessert.
Speaking about the restaurant, Gerry Calabrese said, “Our ambition is to create a restaurant and cocktail destination that celebrates the incredible cultural decade of the 60s, whilst bringing it to the forefront of 21st century dining with our own modern day twist. We have meticulously designed a space that people will love not only for the food, that showcases poultry at its best, but the incredible cocktail and drinks menu that we have crafted with our father, the soundtrack that celebrates the 60s, and a setting that harks back to a more free-spirited time.”
As London’s only poultry dining specialists, The Holy Birds is definitely a destination restaurant every Londoner should seek out. Judging by the exceptional rotisserie chicken, the rest of the menu which features a wide variety of sumptuous game dishes is definitely worth a try and I can’t wait until my next visit to this free-spirited poultry paradise!
The Holy Birds
94 Middlesex Street, London E1 7EZ