Angela Hartnett is one of a globetrotting team behind the opening of a new food truck concept in Broadgate. Its name: Schmaltz. Its value prop: Michelin-level cooking from the back of a (currently) dandelion-painted van.
Hartnett will be joined on the project by long term culinary and life partner Neil Borthwick, with Glen Leeson (Patty & Bun, Bao) overseeing operations and the menu executed by George Clark (The Square, Le Bun, Bao.)
The concept pivots around Label Rouge chicken; French birds certified to have been heritage bred and aged for at least 81 days. Said to be adopting “Michelin techniques” — presumably not proprietary to Bibendum — Schmaltz’s chicken will be seared and roasted skin-on for depth of flavour and crispness. Homemade sauces will compliment the bird on a range of sandwiches “designed to fit the shape of a full, unadulterated chicken breast.” This teardrop symmetry will “reflect the concept of Schmaltz: a light, fun and feminine nod to the ever expanding quality in the fast food revolution.”
The three sandwiches revealed so far are the Chicken Schmaltz (self-explanatory), the Chilli Schmaltz (spicily self-explanatory) and the Mushroom Schmaltz. There will also be soups based on double-stock (a process which concentrates flavour and is a firm friend of classical cookery) and an obligatory vegetarian option.
Design is by Scottish studio Timorous Beasties, and the exterior is far from cowering: strikingly enveloped all over with dandelions, a fully-fitted out kitchen inside. It will be redressed in line with changing fashions, which is a neat touch if likely expensive. Hartnett told Eater London: “‘Nobody has gone and purposefully designed chicken with discerning women in mind. I love that Schmaltz pushes in the opposite direction of ubiquitous dirty dude food. It's clean and delicious.”
Far from schmaltzy, the concept seems solid and serious — a beak to tail concept with an eye for trends both foodie and fashion. Equally striking is someone with Hartnett’s pedigree striking out into mobile operations; not just a move into a growing sector, but likely an awareness that the future of bricks-and-mortar locations in the capital grows ever sketchier.