Ahead of the start of Spit & Roast’s deliciously tempting kitchen residency this weekend, we spoke to owners Ross and Justin about what’s in store for the next eight weeks. From their famed buttermilk chicken to a teaser from their specially prepared playlist! We even asked about their past restaurant lives, their frying techniques and their personal menu favourites…
You both used to be, respectively, the owner and head chef at Medcalf on Exmouth Market. What prompted the switch to the simpler life of Spit & Roast?
Both of us had been working in kitchens and restaurants for 10 years, with all the stresses and problems that can sometimes entail. We simply wanted to focus on something much smaller scale where between the two of us we could do all things from sourcing to cooking, and marketing to driving! Just to be less reliant on other people and issues outside our control.
What influences or techniques have you brought over from there?
In short, not a huge amount, our cooking style is very different to the traditional British fair of Medcalf. But we do share the same ethos of careful sourcing and keeping things simple.
How did your truck Bessie come into your life?
We bought Bessie a year ago from Wilkinsons of Darwen. She had previously been a mobile pizza van and we had her fitted out with fryers and a gleaming rotisserie to meet our chicken related needs…
And how did she acquire her wonderful name?
It just seemed to fit… Black Bessie like a play on Black Beauty?! God knows.
Can you tell us more about your “traditional frying techniques”?
The important elements are the buttermilk marinade, which tenderises the chicken and keeps it moist during cooking. Then comes the coating, which we extensively researched and tested to give the fantastic version we are currently using. After that it’s just a case of keeping quality oil at the right temperature and cooking the chicken till just done, crunchy outside and juicy within.
What is it you love about rotisserie?
The sight of meats cooking, the smells, and of course the end result being far better than anything achievable with a standard oven.
Why did you decide to come to Dalston Superstore for your eight week residency?
A hugely succesful brand in a bustling part of town, a forward thinking ethos and a fun atmosphere – who wouldn’t want to come here?!
What’s your fave item each on the menu and why?
Ross: Rotisserie pork belly, since you get the best of both worlds with crispy crackling and melting flesh. Justin: Buttermilk fried chicken bap – because its the best of its type out there and the combination of chicken, creamy crunchy slaw and feisty KDalsorean hot sauce is just a revelation.
How do you make your buttermilk chicken SO AMAZING?
Start with excellent quality chicken (ours is from Banhams in Suffolk), marinate in the buttermilk, dredge in a phenomenal coating (a lot of tests and research for that one!) and take serious care with the cooking.
Can you tell us one track that sums up Spit & Roast from your special DSS playlist you’ve created for us?
Runaway Love by Linda Clifford. Amazing production like our food.
Join Justin and Ross for the Spit & Roast residency at Dalston Superstore kicking off Saturday 23rd March and running every weekend for the next eight weeks.
Prepare to add another notch on your belt, as the boys of Spit & Roast rock up to Dalston Superstore for a brand new eight week residency on the Kingsland High Street! Kicking off on March 23rd, they’ll be joining us every Saturday and Sunday for 8 weekends with a specially prepared menu covering for all your brunch needs and more!
This is no high-street chicken-shop chicken. Spit & Roast hold the “deep south authenticity” of their fried chicken dear to their hearts and will be upholding their traditional frying techniques here at Superstore.
Inspired by the market rotisseries of France and Italy, the Spit & Roast duo, Justin Unsworth and Ross Gardner (formerly wonder and chef respectively at Medcalf on Exmouth Market) bought their truck Bessie back in April after deciding to follow a simpler (and more rewarding) culinary path.
Since then, they’ve been part of KERB, Brockley Market and came third in the People’s Choice category at the British Street Food Awards.
It’s no surprise, since they’ve striven from the very beginning to knock out high quality rotisserie meats and poultry, including their delicious buttermilk fried chicken. Which, you’ll all be happy to know, will form the mainstay of their menu here at Dalston Superstore! Brunch dishes in a similar vein and a few inspired burgers round things off.