It’s a pop-up but don’t let that put you off. Here for a solid three months, Da Ja is roosting over at – where else? – the Rose & Crown. And its pedigree is assured, having previously clucked across the capital everywhere from Maltby St to Camden Town Brewery and Pop Brixton.
Inspired by the best of street food from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, and Malaysia, Lani Lam, the brains behind Da Ja, uses British free-range chicken from Devon and what she claims are the healthiest cooking oils (such as groundnut, cholesterol-free and trans-fat free). The crunchy coating is plant-based making it gluten-free, the outside crispy and the chicken inside juicy.
On the menu, then? Well, to start there are ‘tenders’, boneless breast strips crying out to be dunked in an accompanying katsu curry gravy (mmmm!); or, our favourite, ‘noshes’, which are made from succulent boneless thigh pieces. Other dips we enjoyed? The terayaki mayo and the spicy Asian ketchup. Oh, and there’s lots of fiery chilli in everything – the menu is not, in fact, for spice-dodgers.
If there’s one sandwich you have to try, it’s what’s called the ‘K-Pop’ (£8): tender thighs, punchy, crisp pickled slaw, red gojuchang (a savoury, spicy fermented condiment made from soybeans), sturdy brioche, and that mayo of the moment, kewpie. It just beats near rival, the breast-based ‘Konnichiwage’ (£8), a milder option with spring onion and the katsu curry sauce.
In short? Hatch a plan to pop by this weekend.
Da Ja Chicken is at the Rose & Crown until the end of April. Tues-Thurs and Fri 6pm-10pm, Sat and Sun 2pm-10pm. Follow them @dajachicken