The opening of the Hoxton Hotel brought a bit of buzz around Shepherd’s Bush. One that excites a lot of West London foodies, including myself, is the opening of Chet’s Restaurant at the hotel, a Thai-Americana spot that claims to combine the fragrant flavours and smoky textures of Thailand and the surrounding region with comforts from the classic American diner. Not only is the concept enticing but food critics have also given high praises to the restaurant and credited it for contributing to the “rising restaurant scene” in Shepherd’s Bush & White City. This has, of course, significantly piqued my interest and discovering that it has some halal-friendly options at the restaurant was a bonus. I have made two visits to the restaurant since – once for dinner and once for brunch. This restaurant review includes dishes & experiences for both visits.
Chet’s: Thai-Americana Fusion Diner
To find Chet’s, you’ll have to go through the main entrance of the Hoxton Hotel Shepherds Bush, where you’ll find a bougie bar area that will lead you into the well-designed diner area. The interiors are incredibly charming, with a slightly retro LA-style decor, oozing a fun & playful vibe. Personally, I prefer visiting during the daytime as the colours add such a splash of vibrancy to the place. During the evening, it was a lot dimmer and it just didn’t give off the same ambience.
While I adored the look of the booth seats, spacing was rather tight and not the most comfortable, in my opinion. On both visits, we were given the booth seats, which we would’ve totally preferred only if it didn’t feel so crowded to squeeze in. Especially with all the big winter jackets during the time of our visit, spacing felt rather scarce.
The Food at Chet’s (what we ordered)
The chicken is halal at Chet’s. Pork and alcohol are served are the restaurant.
Date of visit: October 2023 & December 2023
- Sticky Wings (£11)
- Tingling Onion (£9)
- Prawn Satay (£11)
- Charred Chicken Thigh Skewers (£12.50)
- Fried Chicken Khao Soi (£18)
- Coconut & Lemongrass Fish Curry (£16)
- Yellow Miso Aubergine (£11)
- Chicken ‘n’ Roti Waffles (£13)
- Thai Omelette (£13)
- Pineapple Rice (£16)
- Thai Tea Cream Pie (£9)
- Coconut Rice & Mango (£8)
- Milo Shake (£8)
Sticky Wings (£11)
To start, we had the sticky wings to share. There was an unmissable distinct smell of fish sauce filling up the table upon serving that made a table full of Asians (i.e. us) go ouf. That aside, the wings were reasonably delightful. They were decent in size, fried till crispy and beautifully glazed with a sweet chilli-like sauce. It was extraordinary but there’s also something addictive about those flavours at the same time.
Tingling Onion (£9)
I must say I didn’t expect to see a “blooming onion” at Chet’s but they do offer it in the name of Tingling Onion! Beautifully presented like a blossoming flower bud, the deep-fried onion was crispy and delicious. It’s got a slight Asian flair with the use of five-spice for seasoning, which was subtle to taste yet effective to complement the ranch dressing & sweet chilli sauce.
Prawn Satay (£11)
With the initial expectation of whole large shell-on prawns, it was slightly disappointing to see the Prawn Satay merely having small pieces of prawns on skewers. The flavours were okay, but it was nothing spectacular. I certainly expected more for it being a hotel restaurant and for its price tag. And if you’re looking for a robust authentic taste of Thai satay sauce, this isn’t the one, unfortunately.
Charred Chicken Thigh Skewers (£12.50)
We found the charred chicken thigh skewers a little more enjoyable than the prawn satay. Using chicken thigh guarantees a certain succulence and tenderness, which worked well with the sweet soy dressing and nam pla prik (mixed chillies). Though still, we felt it could use more spice to create a more robust flavour profile.
Fried Chicken Khao Soi (£18)
Here is what I really came for – the Fried Chicken Khao Soi. The Chiang Mai curried noodles came topped with katsu-style fried chicken, pickled radish, red onions, fish sauce, coriander, beansprouts, and roasted chilli oil. Despite noted with two hot chillies on the menu, there was not a single hint of spiciness in this Khao Soi. It’s got a very fragrant coconut flavour, but it was certainly missing that oomph I was expecting. The fried chicken itself was a delight. It was crispy on the outside and nicely succulent & tender on the inside. As a whole, the dish was nice but it was just missing that crucial element of piquant spice to create an impressive flavour party.
Coconut & Lemongrass Fish Curry (£16)
Speaking of the lack of spice, it’s the same affair here with the Coconut & Lemongrass Fish Curry. It was already expected that this curry would be a mild one but we didn’t expect the flavours to be underwhelming. The confit seabream fillet offers a unique texture, which would’ve worked better with a punchier-flavoured curry, in my opinion.
Yellow Miso Aubergine (£11)
For sides, we went for the Yellow Miso Aubergine, which also comes stir-fried with sugar snap peas, fine beans, vegan fish sauce, and prik tum (a mix of chillies commonly used in Thai cooking). Using small aubergines, there’s a natural sweetness that’s subtly enhanced by the use of miso. The chillies weren’t hot per se but added an addictive robust touch to the dish that would leave you wanting for more.
Chicken ‘n’ Roti Waffles (£13)
On a separate visit for brunch, we’d been left impressed by the Chicken ‘n’ Roti Waffles. It’s a fusion take on the American classic fried chicken & waffles and it’s a combo that had worked surprisingly well. While I’ve criticised that a lot of the dishes above lacked robusticity, this one has absolutely nailed it. The crispy pieces of fried chicken have a lovely spiced coating that tickles your palate, which pairs well with the buttery roti that’s made into the shape of waffles. It may have said Tom Yum sauce on the menu but, to me, it was more of a curry sauce and reminded me of roti canai – but in the form of fried chicken & waffles, if that makes sense!
Thai Omelette (£13)
Then we had the Thai Omelette which, unfortunately, was an easily forgettable dish. I’ve had plenty of fond memories of delicious Thai Omelettes through all my childhood family holidays in Thailand, but this omelette was nowhere near what it was like. Other than being filled with bean sprouts, pea shoots, enoki mushrooms, and spring onions, this was just a regular omelette without any distinct Thai flavours.
Pineapple Rice (£16)
If you’re visiting Chet’s in a group, the Pineapple Fried Rice would be a good one to share for the table. Just like how it was in Thailand, it comes beautifully presented in a halved pineapple, with fragrant fried rice loaded on top. It’s decently tasty with hints of sweetness. There’s an option to add crab to it as well at an additional £9.
Thai Tea Cream Pie (£9)
Alas, desserts. The Thai Tea Cream Pie immediately caught our eye and it certainly was an interesting one to savour. It was a lovely fusion of Thai Tea steeped into a classic American pudding, filled in a ginger cookie crumb crust and topped with a massive dollop of whipped cream. If you’re a tea lover, you’ll be delighted with the strong & distinct Thai Tea flavour. This complemented impeccably with the crust, creating this decadently rich sensation. Whilst we initially thought there seemed to be more whipped cream than the actual pie, it was actually just the right ratio for a balanced taste. It was certainly a lovely finishing note to the meal, whether it be brunch or dinner.
Coconut Rice & Mango (£8)
What’s the number one Thai dessert? It ought to be a Mango Sticky Rice Pudding. This Coconut Rice & Mango dessert is Chet’s take on the Thai classic, featuring a sweet & salty coconut rice pudding with topped with fresh mango. Unfortunately, it has failed to impress here. Fresh mango is certainly debatable as it didn’t have the burst of flavour freshness in it. There wasn’t much flavour going on with the coconut rice pudding either. If you take a bite of the Thai Tea Cream Pie and then go back to this pudding, you’ll find such a huge contrast that this pudding would become rather flavourless.
Milo Shake (£8)
Last but not least, milkshakes. With its American diner-style concept, there are, of course, milkshakes on the menu. These milkshakes come with Eastern-influenced flavours and we went with the Milo Shake which consists of Milo chocolate, condensed milk, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, sprinkles, and topped with cherry. Without a doubt, the milkshake was luscious and indulgent to taste. You just can’t go wrong with a good milkshake!
Chet’s Restaurant Review Summary
All in all, we do find Chet’s a lovely restaurant addition to the area but it was certainly a hit-and-miss when it comes to the food. The Thai-American fusion concept was great but what’s lacking is the punchiness & robusticity of flavours. And if you’re looking for spice, unfortunately, this isn’t the place. Let’s just say the chillies on the menu are certainly not reflective of the actual flavours. Ultimately, I reckon the target audience of Chet’s is more for Westerners, catering to a Westernised palate. For such a diverse & multicultural city like London, I do feel the restaurant should step up and be bolder with its flavours to truly win the hearts of people. The potential & concept are certainly there, it just needed more refining.
Only Chicken is halal at Chet’s Restaurant.