How to Spend a Week Eating London’s Best Fried Chicken
Are you up to the challenge of taking down all of London’s best fried chicken? We’ve put together a week-long plan which will take you on a gastronomic adventure around the city, matching each of the days with an appropriate fry. If you start flagging, just channel Craig David: ‘I ate one bird on Monday/sent another down the hatch on Tuesdaay…’
We’re going to ease in gently but with purpose, at Baker Street’s CHIK’N. You may recall the opening of this place back in July; it’s basically a high-quality alternative to the Colonel’s not-so-secret blend of herbs and spices.
Get yourself that first fix of the week by ordering a CHIK’N Classic, which is the good stuff sandwiched with bacon, cheese, lettuce, mayo and pickles. It’s a bit like a cross between a KFC and a Maccy D’s chicken sandwich, but with added bacon (#baconwitheverything). There’s the same sweetness to the mayo and bun but the chicken is far superior: the batter is a craggy crunch-fest while the meat within is as juicy as it comes. You don’t even need to feel guilty while eating it (save that up for the end of the week).
CHIK’N, 134 Baker Street, W1U 6SH
Angry Birds at Nanban
It’s time to get those taste buds trampolining at Nanban. This Japanese soul food restaurant serves the kind of food you want to bury your face in after chugging back a few beers and to be fair, you’d do well to keep a few frosty cans on standby when you confront these Angry Birds.
You’ve probably guessed that they’re hot wings by now, but at the same time, they are so much more. The sauce is a prince of its genre, with the heat coming from fruity scotch bonnets, the perfumed citrus kick coming from ponzu and the all-round richness of butter hanging the whole thing together. There’s a touch of honey for sweetness and all in all it’s a sweet-hot-sour-salty kick in the epiglottis. You’ll be wanging on to your mates about them for weeks.
Nanban, 426 Coldharbour Lane, SW9 8LF
Keralan fried chicken at Kricket
It’s midweek, and you should be feeling like a total boss — you’re two chicken meals down with so much to look forward to, not least this classy arrangement at Soho’s best South Indian restaurant, Kricket.
These guys used to be in Pop Brixton, if you remember (where Smoke and Salt are now) before they moved to a stupendously brilliant and very tastefully designed site in Soho — all covetable floor tiles and pink leather stools that make you feel a bit sad about your own interiors, but never mind because… chicken!
The meat is coated in spiced-up, seasoned flour, which is somehow very light and incredibly easy to eat. We love that it comes with discs of pickled radish, but the best bit is that the whole bowl glistens with oil-slicked curry leaves that twinkle on top like fried chicken fairy lights.
Kricket, 12 Denman Street, W1D 7HH
Masa Fried Chicken Tacos at Breddos
This is London in 2017, which in case you haven’t noticed means we are in the grip of a Mexican food wave. You need to be eating tacos at some point during this week, otherwise you are so far behind the times it’s just embarrassing.
As of last week, there’s a new place to get your quota and it’s the box fresh branch of Breddos on Kingly Street. But where does the chicken come in? What are we alive for if not to consume the finest fried birds in London, daily? Well, calm your boots, because your daily dose of hot poultry is coming in a taco.
Their masa fried chicken is coated in ground corn flour (that’s the masa) and served huddled up in a taco with pico de gallo, roasted habanero, heritage tomato and white onion. It’s a heavyweight in the flavour department; fans of subtlety should look elsewhere.
Breddos, 26 Kingly Street, W1B 5QD; 82 Goswell Road, EC1V 7DB
Eat the Bits Chilli Chicken Wings at Tonkotsu
It’s basically been the weekend since midday (oh, come on; no one does any work on a Friday afternoon) so that means you can spend lots of time planning your visit to Tonkotsu to eat wings. This chain is known for their ramen (and do not dismiss the idea of the katsu sando — a London classic) but not many people rave about their wings. This is a mistake.
They’re brilliant at battering chicken, having picked up the skills when making their superlative karaage, but the real touch is the use of Eat the Bits chilli oil. Never heard of it? You’re in for a treat. This is their own-brand chilli oil and the name refers to what is known in the world of Asian chilli oils as ‘the sediment’ — sounds gross, is actually brilliant. It’s the tasty bits at the bottom of the jar which include chilli flakes, miso, garlic and shichimi togarashi — a Japanese rice seasoning made with sesame and citrus. It’s banging. It’s addictive. It will go down in history as a classic London-made condiment.
Tonkotsu, various locations
Chick’n’Sours Brunch Burger AND buffalo wings at Sticky Wings
We know you dreamt about fried chicken last night, but it’s time to dig out those loose-waisted trousers and get the job done. You’re going to Chick’n’Sours tomorrow as well, but look, at least there’s more than one branch!
The brunch bun is magnificent. A fried thigh forms the base of this gustatory adventure, followed by avocado (brunch, innit), hot sauce, bacon (hooray!), a fried egg and gochujang mayo. You’ll need to open your jaw to maximum capacity, but consider it a bonus stretching exercise, like Saturday morning mouth-yoga.
Later on, after you’ve been out on the razz, it’s time to get some buffalo wings in, because what is this list without them? A solid contender to deliver the goods is Brick Lane’s Sticky Wings, who turn out textbook wings coated in Frank’s hot sauce and butter, which hit the spot every time. If it ain’t broke…
Chick’n’Sours, 1a Earlham Street, WC2H 9LL; 390 Kingsland Road, E8 4AA
Sticky Wings, 40 Brick Lane, E1 6RF
Whole Chicken Fry at Chick’n’Sours
This is the final hurdle and you need to bring out the big guns, because today, you’re taking on the whole bird fry. They do this at both branches, so choose your battleground and show some form, because this is the pinnacle of your achievements thus far.
They spent a long time developing this recipe and it is what it is — a whole deep fried chicken for the table to share. Their technique means the bird stays succulent inside its crust and you can order it straight up or ‘K Pop Style’, which means squiggled with gochujang mayo. Two sides come with for £30. Get your phone ready, because you’ll need to put this on Instagram (bonus: your friends will know you’re still alive).
Congratulations! Your week in fried chicken is at an end. How do you feel? Actually, don’t answer that…