In my younger years, before I started reading about the general cruelty and nastiness involved in intensively reared meat, before thinking about food in such a way had even crossed my mind, I was extremely partial to a box of fried chicken and chips. It was my go-to drunk food. So crispy! So salty! So naughty!
These days, you might think that my love affair with fried chicken must be over. Most takeaway joints wouldn’t dream of sourcing free range or organic chickens for their buckets of grease, after all.
Thankfully, in wonderful London, you can find just about anything. So here’s my round up of eateries in the capital where the only cruel part of the food is the amount of squats you’ll have to pull to burn off the delicious calories…
Based in their mobile van, the boys at Mother Clucker London serve mouthwatering southern, twice fried, free-range chicken, marinated in a sweet tea brine for over 12 hours, coated in buttermilk and a secret blend of spices. Make sure you follow them on Twitter to find out where they’re parked at the moment.
I am yet to try this place, but it’s at the top of my wishlist for a number of reasons; the free-range Cotswold white chickens, the craft beers, the soul music and hip-hop playlist, and not least of all, the scathing review at the beginning of the year from The Observer’s Jay Rayner. Four wings from here will set you back £4.50, so for that price, your best bet is to head down and judge it for yourself.
All of the chicken here is 100% free range and from rare breeds, and cooked in finest grade groundnut oil. The interior is modern but comfy and dimly lit, and the brunch menu sounds amazing – The veggie ‘Clutch it Up’ comes with chilli scrambled eggs, halloumi, roast tomato and guacamole. Oh, and the soundtrack is stricly R’nB. Winner!
With four branches across London, BIRD promises “free range fried chicken, the way it’s meant to be” – which for them means smothered in buffalo blue cheese or Nashville hot sauce and accompanied by a fat stack of fries with chicken fat gravy. Oh, and there’s hot fresh donuts too. Need I say more?
5. Chicken Town
Chicken Town breaks the mould that has been carved out by thousands of other fast food outlets across the country, by serving high quality, free range chicken meals at the same price as the inferior alternatives. The project is the culmination two years of research on the causes of obesity on young people in London; Tottenham has some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the UK, with over 40% of 11-year-olds classified as obese. By providing better versions of the most popular form of fast food in the area, Chicken Town aims to improve kids diets by introducing attractive, tasty – yet healthier – alternatives. It’s the future of fast food – I hope!
Posh fish ‘n’ chips and gourmet dipping sauces are the order of the day at Hook, a simple trendy space with communal tables and a hip hop playlist. Their free range fried chicken strips in cajun panko breadcrumbs are fab, as is the fact that they sell bottles of beer from Welsh brewery Otley too!