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Fried Chicken in London? Bird, Shoreditch is the word! Restaurant Review

21 August, 2015 — by Toni Ratcliff0

Anybody who has read even a smidgen of my articles on here knows that I have a boner passion for chicken wings, and generally any chicken of the fried variety. Who doesn’t, amirite?!

So while I was ‘researching restaurants to review for Methods Unsound (AKA: looking at food tweets on Twitter) I came across Bird, a fried chicken joint in Shoreditch. Bird are pretty vocal on Twitter and after reading a stream of tweets from people raving about their fried chicken burger served BETWEEN TWO GIANT FREAKING WAFFLES I felt it was my duty, nay, my honour to go and investigate for the greater good.

Bird, Shoreditch
Opened in spring 2014, Bird is quietly brooding under the Overground railway arches on Kingsland Road, Shoreditch. Apparently the owners never intended Bird to become part of the ‘dirty food movement’ in London but rather just wanted to serve up good quality fried chicken, and I think this is reflected on the menu.

All of their chicken is free range and sourced from British farms, and although you can still get a big ol’ heap of fried chicken, their menu also has an Asian influence too with chicken served in Chinese pancakes, soy-garlic and Tonkatsu sauces and sides of Korean cucumbers with rice vinegar. So not just a big plate of stodge and grease.

But before we start, be aware that I am not going to skip straight to the chicken and waffle burger. That would be stupid. I’m gonna work up to it and make you read other stuff first so we can savour it and enjoy it together, okay? C’mon then!

Chicken wings with honey ginger glaze (6 for £5)

Bird: Chicken wings with honey soy glaze
To ease into our chicken fest we thought we would start small… with some chicken! Wings to be exact, six of them covered with a honey, ginger glaze. It was a good start, the chicken was crispy on the outside and moist in the middle. The glaze seemed to be not so much a glaze as a puddly dipping sauce in the bottom of the pan, but it was sweet and sharp at the same time and added a nice stickiness. I am going to be honest and say that these are probably not the best chicken wings I’ve had in London so far, but they were still good. And don’t worry, Bird have the rest of the bird to make up for it. And they do.

Fried chicken pieces – two mixed, dark and white (£7)

Bird: Fried mixed chicken pieces
The fried chicken at Bird comes in portions of two sizes: two pieces or four pieces. And in two varieties: dark or white meat. Now that may not seem like a lot at first but you should know that all of the dark meat pieces are always thighs, and the white meat pieces are always whole chunks of chicken breast. So really you get a lot of good quality chicken for your buck. And if that’s not enough, you can get a whole bird (eight pieces and four wings) for just £24. Clucking great! (Oh, too much?)

We decided to get just a couple of mixed dark and white pieces, and I am sure the waiter said they had a Buffalo glaze that came with a blue cheese dip… although I can’t see that on the menu so maybe I am mistaken. Either way it was some goooood chicken! They were amazingly crispy on the outside and then juicy and moist in the middle, just what you want from fried chicken. The white meat pieces were especially delicious and I highly recommend them. Next time I think I will just order a ton of those and I’ll be happy.

Nashville Hot Sliders (£7)

Bird: Nashville Hot Sliders

These little sliders came in the cutest little buns, they were like little mini brioche hot dog buns and were so soft and shiny. Inside of each was a good sized piece of, not breaded, but fried chicken breast with some sort of American cheese-type slices and a cayenne pepper hot sauce. Now for a word of warning: this hot sauce is actually really hot. I had to stop eating half way through my sliders, but after a few minutes to cool down I was fine to carry on. However, there was a girl opposite me who I saw tried some of her boyfriend’s buns and nearly had a meltdown. There was also a good splodge of kewpie mayo (a Japanese mayonnaise) and some gherkins in each bun. They were nice although I felt like they might be lacking a bit of lettuce or some more gherkins or something to give it a bit more crunch and to contrast with the pure bun/chicken flavour. That said, I did wolf all three of them down.

Chicken & Waffle Burger (£12)

Bird: Chicken & Waffle Burger

Okay. Here he is, King chicken and waffle burger. Check him out, what a behemoth! This beast of a burger measures about 10cms high and consists of fried boneless chicken thighs, thick cut bacon, American cheese, hot sauce and maple syrup, served between two cheddar and onion waffles. I’ll repeat: fried chicken, bacon, cheese, maple syrup served on waffles. For real!

This was definitely the feature dish at Bird. But what was it actually like? The chicken had an incredibly crispy batter on the outside with really lovely, fresh chicken inside. The waffle itself was light and fluffy but not too stodgy so you didn’t feel like you had eaten a brick. Then there was some back bacon, which was obviously not as crispy as American bacon tends to be but because the fried chicken was so crispy the soft bacon really worked well here. There was a dash of maple syrup which was surprisingly not too sickly, and the hot BBQ style sauce added a good layer of moisture to the whole affair. If I had any criticism I would want the cheese to be meltier and the bacon to be a touch crispier but it was not a big deal.

I think the most surprising thing about it was the fact that the waffle wasn’t greasy. It looks like a giant disgusting mess but the fact that it didn’t taste like that was a very pleasant surprise. You didn’t feel like a disgusting pig-dog afterwards! However, the waffle burger was SO large that we did have to eat it in two sittings. Thankfully Bird boxed the rest up for us to take home.

Jalapeno corn pudding (£3.50)

Bird: Jalapeno corn pudding

Now, because we are health conscious folk (err..?) we did order a couple of vegetable dishes as sides. First we had the jalapeno corn pudding (pictured above) which was less like a sticky pudding or cornbread like I was expecting and more like sweetcorn in a bowl with a crispy panko breadcrumb topping and cheese. It was, nevertheless, delicious. Finally we had the House pickled vegetables (£3.50) which were a selection of carrots, cauliflower and cucumber, crunchy and tangy with an Asian style pickling liquor. A nice change to all of the meat and batter above. These were very lovely but sadly I don’t have a photo and didn’t get to eat many as my husband devoured them all. Git.

I should note that to wash all of this delicious chicken down, Bird stock a fairly good, if typical, range of craft beers and a small list of cocktails at very reasonable rates. And for dessert, yummy ice cream sundaes and doughnuts courtesy of The Doughnut Hatch. I am still on the lookout for the perfect doughnut so really wanted to get my chops around those babies. Unfortunately, because I had just eaten several whole chickens this was not an option at this time.

If Bird’s mission statement is to produce good quality fried chicken then I think they are doing a pretty good job. Everything was tasty. It may have lacked just a tiny something that would make it perfection, but I am already planning what I would order the next time I go. Besides, I’m not sure there is anywhere else in London where you can get fried chicken and bacon on onion waffles.

Still hungry? Maybe you’ll find something equally finger-licking in our London burgers section, including our review of CHICKENLiquor.

Bird, Shoreditch, London

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