Inspired by their passion for Eastern Mediterranean home cooking, husband and wife team Amir and Limor Chen have opened a bright, welcoming new restaurant in Shoreditch.
Strut & Cluck is very much a reflection of Amir and Limor, of their heritage, their tastes and their passions. “We were both born in Tel Aviv, Amir moved to London as a child, whereas I came later,” says Limor. “Our background is a real fusion of east and west and we wanted to convey this heritage in both the food and the design of Strut & Cluck.”
“A fusion of flavours is the way we are used to eating, never compromising on taste. Open to different types of protein, we discovered turkey meat and its great versatility, enjoying how well it takes flavours on and the health benefits that comes with it”
The restaurant’s hero ingredient, turkey, is firmly entrenched in the pair’s passion for healthy, yet inventive cuisine. Marinated for 24 hours in the family spice and herb blend and slow-cooked to ensure maximum tenderness, the turkey is served with an array of sides, salads and sharing dishes.
“It started from our home cooking, keeping a healthy kitchen for our family with plenty of vegetables, fresh and roasted dishes, lots of olive oil and middle eastern herbs and spices,” explains Limor.
“A fusion of flavours is the way we are used to eating, never compromising on taste. Open to different types of protein, we discovered turkey meat and its great versatility, enjoying how well it takes flavours on and the health benefits that comes with it.”
Mirroring the fresh, natural feel of the menu, the interior of Strut & Cluck is bright and airy in design. The 75-cover restaurant is divided into a central bar for 12 diners, a private dining room for eight guests, and a large seating area designed to evoke an outside terrace, filled with hanging baskets, lanterns, wooden shutters and natural light.
Of course, no project is without its challenges, and the original space required some significant modifications to achieve the Amir and Limor’s vision.
“The restaurant was very dark and eerie with the windows covered and not much light coming in,” explains Limor. “This was the exact opposite of what we wanted: light, airy, fresh, relaxed, welcoming, with organic and natural elements.
“We wanted to convey the ambience of the Mediterranean without being fake or pastiche, and make the space as light as possible”
“We knew we wanted to open the windows but didn’t even know what the view would be. We were pleasantly surprised with the greenery we found there, that fitted perfectly with the plants we wanted to hang inside. The same was true of the walls – we scraped through the old décor and loved what we found underneath.”
The founders’ love of the natural world was the central inspiration for this transformation, and is reflected in the use of soft lighting, wild flowers and gentle, rustic materials.
“It was important for us to design the restaurant as an extension of our home, for example, the shutters and plants in the garden room, the photos of our family along the bar,” explains Limor.
“We wanted to convey the ambience of the Mediterranean without being fake or pastiche, and make the space as light as possible. We have lots of collectibles, including my works of art, book collections and bric a brac.
“We’re delighted with what we have created. I think we managed to form that relaxed intimate feel, and we get lovely feedback from guests, designers, and photographers about the design as well as the ambience of the restaurant.”