Holloway's socialist restaurateur on why his chicken is left-wing
PUBLISHED: 19:00 01 March 2019
“My chicken is political,” said a socialist chef running a hit restaurant off the Holloway Road that once fell foul to a Hatton Garden style heist.
Hassan Hassan, or H to regulars, has been tantalising Islington’s taste buds since he founded Chicks on Fire, in Hercules Street in 2012.
A former head chef at the Royal Albert Hall, H, said his passion is making “five star food” affordable.
“You know the Hatton Garden heist? said H, in reference to the infamous burglary of some £200million from a safe deposit box in 2015.
“Well somebody did exactly the same thing here. We still have the hole there. They went down the side corridor in the flat upstairs and kicked their way in through a partition plasterboard.
“They took £23 from the till but couldn’t find anything else. There was no chicken stolen because everything is cooked to order.
“There were damages but I found it absolutely hilarious.”
H explained his restaurant has a faithful fanbase and most people who eat his chicken, or baba ghanoush (there’s lots for veggies and vegans) become regulars.
“The food is my passion and it always has been,” he said. “I think it [the businesses popularity] is down to three things: first of all it’s good food. Second, it’s got a homely atmosphere. And third, it’s affordable prices for quality food that brings everybody back.
“My chicken is political – one of the reasons I did this was to bring fine dining to the people.”
He revealed there’s a group of about four or five rough sleepers who bed-down locally and regularly come in for free meals.
“If they want anything to eat and drink they are more than welcome,” said H. “Even if they come in every day.”
The chef says he’s also been sponsoring a police initiative at nearby Grafton Park Primary School, in Eburne Road, where officers teach children about the dangers of carrying knives.
“It’s an area full of kids with a school and I worry about the safety of the neighbourhood,” he said.
He’s also in the process of planning a new scheme to teach young mums the importance of nutritional meals.
Neighbours can also have their parcels dropped off at the shop while their at work, says Hassan.