No longer a greasy, late-night guilty pleasure after a few beers, fried chicken has gone gourmet – and London is full of great places to indulge.
From finger-lickin’ Southern fried chicken to Korean, Thai and Japanese style, there’s a fried chicken dish to satisfy every craving.
Here’s ten great places to get your fried chicken fix in the capital.
Photo: The Lockhart / Twitter
With Mississippi-born chef Brad McDonald at the helm of the kitchen serving dishes from the Southern States, the Southern fried chicken at The Lockhart is an utter joy, as you’d expect. But this is a refined spin on Southern American cooking, and the dish is a long way from the fast food variety – crisp, golden, perfectly seasoned batter gives way to juicy, flavoursome brined and buttermilk-marinated chicken, and ordering an additional piece seems inevitable. Southern fried herb-fed chicken with two sides will set you back £12.50 at lunch (or £17.50 at dinner), with extra chicken at £4.50 a piece.
24 Seymour Place, W1H 7NL – lockhartlondon.com
— Louise Rhind-Tutt (@lrtpublicity) February 3, 2016
Tonkotsu is named after the lip-smacking, creamy ramen typical in Kyushu, Japan’s southern-most island – but in addition to excellent ramen you’ll also find some addictive Japanese style fried chicken as a side dish. Chicken kara-age consists of boneless chicken thighs marinated in soy, ginger and garlic and fried to a deep, crisp brown. The perfect accompaniment to a bowl of rich, hearty noodle soup – or just on their own as a snack with a cold beer.
Branches in Soho, Hackney, Bankside and Notting Hill – tonkotsu.co.uk
Bao opened in April last year, and still regularly sees queues down Lexington Street for its pillowy soft steamed buns with a range of mouthwatering fillings. Try the fried chicken bao, filled with crispy golden fried chicken thigh in a light, delicate batter alongside spicy Sichuan mayo, golden kimchi, coriander and hot sauce. There’s a great small plate option of crunchy Taiwanese fried chicken with hot sauce, too. Delicious – and worth queuing for. We hear a new branch is scheduled to open in Fitzrovia in May.
53 Lexington St, W1F 9BD – baolondon.com
Chick ‘n’ Sours
Photo: Chick ‘n’ Sours / Twitter
With herb-fed free-range fried chicken from PIlmoor Grange in Yorkshire, plus sour cocktails and local beers, Chick ’n’ Sours from pop-up pioneer Carl Clarke offers a cornucopia of chickeny delights in Dalston. Drumstick and thigh comes in choice of house fry, with seaweed crack, pickled watermelon and a range of dips (£8), or a guest fry – or try the Korean fried chicken in a bun with spicy gochujang mayo. On Sunday, forget going out for your usual roast chicken and plump for their whole fried chicken with any two sides (£25) instead.
390 Kingsland Rd, E8 4AA – chicknsours.co.uk
Photo: Mother Clucker / Twitter
Mother Clucker serve tea-brined, buttermilk-soaked, twice-battered fried chicken from their converted US Army ambulance, currently housed in the Truman Brewery. Try their Southern fried chicken strips garnished with lime zest with a portion of seasoned fries or in a bun, or check out the magnificent Cluckwich – a toasted sandwich stuffed with fried chicken thigh, pickled peppers, iceberg lettuce, homemade hot sauce and lime mayo.
Elys Yard at the Truman Brewery all week, or Fri and Sat nights at Street Feast / Hawker House, plus other pop-ups – motherclucker.co.uk
Photo: CHICKENliquor / Twitter
Formerly Wishbone until it was taken over by the guys behind MEATliquor, CHICKENliquor offers a wide range of treats for fried chicken fans. Choose from wings or boneless bites, then pick a style: double fried Korean style with daikon and fermented chilli; buffalo with blue cheese sauce and pickled celery; house coating with BBQ sauce; or Thai style with tamarind dressing, fresh mint and chilli (all £6.50). Nashville Hot Chicken – chicken breast fried in house coating on white bread with chilli oil and pickles – is £8, or check out the range of chicken burgers, including a Chicken Parma with Serrano ham, melted mozzarella, marinara sauce and Parmesan (£8.50).
Unit 12 Market Row, Brixton Market, SW9 8PR – chickenliquor.co.uk
Photo: Ma’Plucker / Twitter
Ma’Plucker brings finger-lickin’ fried chicken with a hefty portion of soul from the Deep South to the heart of Soho. Choose a base option of fresh salad, house bun or maple waffle, choose a sauce including chicken skin gravy and Kansas BBQ, then pick your chicken – including crispy-coated, buttermilk-dipped wings, breast or thigh. An unusual, chicken-themed afternoon tea option includes boozy iced tea plus a selection of mini chicken burgers, plus cherry pie and mini doughnuts.
75 Beak Street, W1F 9SS – maplucker.com
Spit and Roast
Photo: Spit and Roast
East London’s premiere spit-roast truck also do insanely good buttermilk fried chicken. Free-range chicken pieces – from local butcher Gavin Peckover on Roman Road – are marinated overnight in buttermilk, dipped in a secret coating and then fried to golden perfection. Try it served in a bap with tangy coleslaw and spicy Korean hot sauce. Find them at weekends at Southbank Centre Food Market, or on Saturdays at Brockley Market.
Southbank Centre Food Market, Briockley Market and other pop-ups – spitandroast.tumblr.com
Joe’s Southern Kitchen
Photo: Joe’s Southern Kitchen / Twitter
With branches in Covent Garden and Kentish Town, Joe’s Southern Kitchen brings a taste of the Deep South to London. The Southern fried chicken consists of a quarter, half or whole free-range bird from Church Hill Farm in Yorkshire (£6 – £24), brined for 24 hours in sweet tea and coated in zingy lemon dust. Try it tossed in homemade spiked Tabasco honey, or Nashville hot and spicy paste. A good value weekday Blue Plate lunchtime offer includes a quarter Southern Fried chicken, fries with chicken salt, BBQ pulled pork beans plus a lager or wine for £10.
34 King St, WC2E 8JD, or 300 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2TG – joessouthernkitchen.co.uk
— Louise Rhind-Tutt (@lrtpublicity) February 2, 2016
With branches in Muswell Hill and Ealing, Chooks serves a secret recipe buttermilk chicken alongside their marinated and grilled chicken. Try a hearty, comforting buttermilk fried chicken dinner with mash and gravy, or try the High Noon Chicken Tacos with corn, shredded slaw, avocado and chipotle sauce. You can add buttermilk fried chicken to one of their fresh salads, or it also features on their burgers including Blazing Saddle with chipotle sauce and slaw, or Austin Midnight with BBQ shredded pork.
43 Muswell Hill Broadway, N10 3HA, or 31 Haven Green, W5 2NX – chooks.me
Liked this? Try these:
Main photo: Mother Clucker / Twitter