Food review: Bird serves up crispy chicken to regulars like Harry Styles
- Credit: Paul Winch-Furness / Photographe
Fried chicken has a terrible reputation in this country,” says Canadian chef Cara Ceppetelli,
“It’s a big part of north American cuisine and can be delicious.
We thought we could make it over for people who would never go to a chicken shop.”
She and her former investment banker husband Paul Hemings opened their first quick eat diner in Kingsland Road, Dalston to elevate the maligned foodstuff above its image of bargain bucket greasy take-aways.
With a relaxed contemporary vibe and what Cara calls “clean” design of wooden topped booths and stools, and exposed brick, Bird’s second branch in Holloway Road Islington has proved popular with local families which the mum-of-four says is “great”.
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The third outlet in Chalk Farm Road – not far from Cara’s Kentish Town home - is already feeding hungry north Londoners like Harry Styles with their winning combination of wings and chicken pieces, burgers and doughnuts.
Popping in on a Monday night we tried the chicken pieces (£7 for two, £13 for four) which are super crispy (not greasy) encasing succulent juicy meat.
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For an extra 50p they will toss them in a glaze like sticky soy garlic, Nashville extra hot or Korean gochujang. Or you can order the likes of buttermilk ranch or hickory BBQ dip.
Asian-inspired sides include Korean cucumbers bathed in rice vinegar, pepper and sesame which were crunchy and fresh.
Deep fried gherkins came in a crispy tempura with a heady blue cheese dip, and the fries were properly rustling and well seasoned.
Other options include a creamy slaw with kimchi mayo or jalapeno corn pudding in a panko crust.
Burgers range from £8-£10 there’s the Korean influenced Gee Gee, a burger with parma ham and mozzarella, or the more conventional bacon and cheese with BBQ sauce.
My West Coast featured a nicely crispy breast, but an underpowered guacamole and house mayo had made the bun soggy.
Better toasting and a more vinegary kick to cut the creamy mayo would have improved things, though my friend was happy with her classic of spicy slaw, pickles and mayo.
In a nod to Cara’s origins the fried chicken sandwiched between huge griddle waffles with maple syrup has become a signature dish.
There’s a range of sodas, beers and cocktails – try the dirty Ribena with bourbon and blackcurrant or the dark and stormy combining bitter, sour, sweet and spiky with rum, ginger beer lime and bitters.
As the Tube trains rumbled under our seat and old school tunes played discreetly, we tucked into a real hit.
Light glazed doughnuts sandwiched around a scoop of ice cream with choc and caramel sauce and whipped cream. A bargain at £4.