Despite the health food craze sweeping through London, fried chicken still has a solid fan base in the capital, with new fried chicken restaurants opening regularly and exciting variations of the dish popping up at top restaurants
With roots in southern America – a region known for its very tasty and calorie-packing dishes like mac and cheese and sticky ribs – fried chicken is an indulgent dish that has a huge appeal in London. In fact ‘Nandos’ is the most frequently searched for restaurant online. But not all fried chicken is doomed to give you heart disease. A Kickstarter campaign was launched last year to help combat childhood obesity in Tottenham by starting a healthy chicken shop. And they succeeded. Chicken Town is a place for kids to eat without parents worrying about their waistlines, as the chicken served only has a third of the fat of the other chicken on offer in the area.
Healthy or not, there’s no denying that fried chicken is big right now. Ever the innovator, London has not only taken this trend under its, er, wing, but it has taken fried chicken and given it a hundred different flavours, styles and tastes. Here’s our list of the best fried chicken London has to offer.
1 Rita’s Bar and Dining, Hackney
This Hackney favourite serves up American comfort food with its own unique spin. Chicken comes on rolls and waffles or roasted for two with warm honey and sausage gravy, and you can grab a side of the green chilli mac and cheese or salt chocolate pretzel mousse for dessert. Perfect for a group of friends to share – or not.
175 Mare Street, Hackney E8 3RH; ritasbaranddining.com
2 Chooks, Crouch End
Serving up exactly what the name suggests, these fried chicken experts offer takeaway and dine-in options for its lengthy menu that spans from buffalo wings with a blue cheese dip to a big chicken dinner tray of grilled and buttermilk fried chicken with dirty rice, coleslaw, beans and onion rings.
43 Muswell Hill Broadway, Crouch End N10 3HA; chooks.me
3 Spit & Roast, various locations in East London
The two guys behind Spit & Roast took their delicious brand of rotisserie and fried chicken to the streets after becoming fed up with it being confined to restaurants. Now they roam East London selling their buttermilk fried chicken baps with coleslaw and hot sauce. To hunt them down, see their website.
4 Bird, Shoreditch
Bird promises to ‘serve the best free range fried chicken that you’ve ever tasted’. Its chicken comes with plenty of options for how many, how dark and with which sauce to put with it, but most notable on the menu is the chicken and waffle burger – fried chicken, bacon, cheese, hot sauce and maple syrup between two cheddar and onion waffles. This is definitely something to try for yourself.
42-44 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch E2 8DA; birdrestaurants.com
5 Chicken Liquor, Brixton
The name says it all at Chicken Liquor – two things the fried chicken shop is all about. And the team there sure know their way around both. Korean and Thai-style buffalo wings and chicken burgers feature on the menu, and the cocktail list is an excellent accompaniment.
Unit 12, Market Row, Coldharbour Lane, Brixton SW9 8JX; chickenliquor.co.uk
6 The Lockhart, Marylebone
If you didn’t think it was possible to make fried chicken sophisticated, The Lockhart is here to prove you wrong. The chef is from Mississippi and the chicken is truly southern – served with coleslaw and collard greens – but the restaurant and wine list are stylish and classy.
22-24 Seymour Place, Marylebone W1H 7NL; lockhartlondon.com
7 Brooklyn Bowl, North Greenwich
Part bowling alley, part live music venue, part restaurant – Brooklyn Bowl covers all bases. Head along to catch a band, play a few games and grab a fried chicken platter. Other notable items on the menu include catfish burgers and Sloppy Joe sliders and an entire section of the menu inspired by Elvis. Make sure you arrive hungry.
The O2, Peninsula Square, Greenwich SE10 0DX; london.brooklynbowl.com
8 Jackson + Rye, Chiswick and Richmond
Stylish, but still managing to bring that American diner feel, Jackson + Rye has an extensive menu that caters to all tastes and cravings. In terms of the chicken, the buttermilk fried chicken breast with spicy slaw and Cajun sweet potato fries won’t let you down. Nor will the breakfast menu, desserts list, or selection of wines, beers and cocktails.
217-221 Chiswick High Road W4 2DW / Hotham House, 1 Heron Square, Richmond TW9 1EJ; jacksonrye.com
9 Mother Clucker, Shoreditch
Its current residence is just off Brick Lane in the Truman Brewery, but this chicken truck gets around London and even does deliveries. The chicken is tea brined, buttermilk soaked, twice battered and served on either a brioche bun or with fries or black eyed peas. The van itself is worth checking out – it’s an old US army ambulance that has been converted for this noble cause.
Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch E1 6QL; motherclucker.co.uk
10 Chicken Shop, Tooting
With chicken off the spit available in quarter, half and whole servings you will not be leaving Chicken Shop hungry. To go with it there are options like crinkle cut fries and corn on the cob, and for dessert choose from deliciously southern apple pie, chocolate brownie, or lemon tart.
141 Tooting High Street SW17 0SY; chickenshop.com
11 Beer and Buns, the City
Based on the Japanese drinking and dining experience, this Shoreditch pop up offers Japanese craft beer, hirata buns and Korean style jumbo chicken wings alongside retro pinball and foosball tables. The chicken wings are crispy, the cocktails are frozen, and the vibe is very fun.
3 Appold Street, the City EC2A 2AF; beerandbuns.co.uk
12 Joe’s Southern Kitchen, Kentish Town
Americana abounds in this diner and bar, where the music is appropriately southern. With dishes designed to share, the signature here is the fried chicken – sweet tea brined and fried with lemon salt and Tabasco honey.
300 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town NW5 2TG; joessouthernkitchen.co.uk
13 Jubo, Shoreditch
Located in the lobby of the Bedroom Bar, this Korean canteen serves its fried chicken in wings, strips and drumsticks and, as a classic ‘anju’ dish (Korean for food to be enjoyed with alcohol), there is a great range of Korean beer, cocktails and wines to go with it. The chicken is delicious and comes with a choice of glazes – soy, hot or volcanic.
Bedroom Bar, 68 Rivington Street, Shoreditch EC2A 3AY; jubolondon.com