Clucking great chicken at Absurd Bird…

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Crispy. Crunchy. Plump. Juicy. With personality traits like these, it’s hardly surprising that fried chicken is the current king of low-key London dining. Type ‘chicken restaurant London’ into Google and 38’900’000 hits appear. Remove every Chicken Kingdom-Palace-Village-Town from the list and you’re still left with an insane number of places to get your poultry fix from so when a new spot opens up that promises cold beer, hot birds & the sort of relaxed vibe that makes you wanna take up residency there like some sort of feathery freak, you know it’s got to be checked out.

First things first, we like a place that doesn’t have the same bare filament light-bulbs and beaten copper plates, mugs & tankards as the other 93 million new restaurants in town. I love the cosy booths for two that line the wall, I love the plaid-shirt-covered bench seating at the larger tables, I love the fluttering notes strung across from wall to wall and I love the birdcages that swing gently from the ceiling.

I also happen to be a big fan of polite, friendly and personable service which was delivered from each and every member of staff; when the people bringing your food have favourites that they wanna share with you, you better believe I’m gonna listen. Combining an earnest passion for the sort of street food currently circulating around London with a deep love of Southern states USA soul food, the menu slings one dribble-inducing dish after another at you. Some of them you know and some, well you definitely wanna get to them too.

Delivering trans-Atlantic sized portions at very reasonable prices means you need to come here hungry and with your big girl, extra stretchy pants on. A beautiful vintage skillet of Spinach & Artichoke Dip with snappy, deep fried tortilla chips was so comforting and delicious I could have cried with relief when J – generous to the end or maybe just fearful of losing a finger? – graciously allowed me to scrape the creamy dollopy dregs from the bottom of the pan onto the  last of the chips, my fork and yes, my fingers too.

Fried Pickles with Ranch Dressing were piping hot, juicy, crisp and battered to just the right point; fully coated, super gnarly, begging for a ranch bath and kicking ass alongside a frosty pale ale.

If it’s soul food on a plate that you’re looking for, it’s Fried Chicken & Waffles with maple syrup and a sweetly smoked gravy that you need. There might not be many things I share in common with everyone’s favourite Dogg, Snoop, but a love of the bird and the baked goods is it. Light & fluffy with syrup seeping from every golden pouch, in the humble waffle I can confirm that crunchy, spicy chicken has found its soulmate. Forget stuffing, forget avocado, forget pot pies, waffles my friends, waffles are what your chicken should be laying beside, sandwiched next to and standing proudly on.

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While there are commendably lighter options on the menu, the possibility of my going out for Friday night fried chicken and ordering the brown rice salad is, like sunshine on a Bank Holiday weekend, slim to none. Instead, a trio of baby sliders were chosen & devoured, each potato bun stuffed with bacon jam slathered chicken & chin adorning, creamy slicks of mayo.

Batting in at the last round was a portion of some of the biggest chicken wings I’ve ever seen; fresh but fiddly, they were spattered with a creamy garlic-lemon-Parmesan sauce which cut nicely through the richly delicious heaviness of some of the other dishes.

Try as I might – and with two buttons undone, I promise you I did – there was absolutely no room at the inn for dessert but in the interest of feeding back to you dear readers, a wedge of the Crack Pie was taken home for midnight grazing; butter, cream, two types of sugar and an oaty-cookie crust made this bounce-off-the-walls sweet but well worth sharing a forkful or two of.

You know it’s a good shout when you’ve already picked what you’re having on the next visit – FYI, that’d be Sweet Potato Pie topped with marshmallows, tear & share Dipsy Cake and Jalapeno Cheese Biscuits with Apple Butter. Yes the chicken is good here and yes, I would happily come back and eat it again if only to reassure you that it’s still delicious but this Bird boasts a menu of sides & starters I’d be delighted to eat my way through accompanied by some of the awesome sounding cocktails from the mixologist superstars, Soulshakers. Great for a mid-week date or bang on for a weekend group dinner, this is a brilliant little place to get down, get dirty and get soulful at.

An afternoon spent with Jon Favreau and soft, sweet, delicious buns…

Dear Hollywood,

Please feel free to take the remainder of 2014 off because in ‘Chef’, you have delivered the movie of the year. Funny, sweet, touching, charming, inspiring and totally feel good with a brilliant script, awesome acting, a soundtrack to shake your Cubano-loving ass to and flawless food shots that made me want to run up to the 25ft screen at the front of the cinema and lick the glass – FAO all the doubters out there, wait till you see the grilled cheese and then tell me I’m wrong.

Thanks for such a great film and enjoy your extended vacation,
Love Edible Angel. xox

Ok kids, we’ve had a fantastic afternoon. We? That’d be me, the food junkie who dwells within and the every-bit-as-gorgeous-and-lovely-as-the-film J. A quiet lunchtime screening of ‘Chef’ followed by a late lunch/early dinner at ‘Flesh and Buns’ in Earlham Street.

A film labelled as ‘ultimate food porn’ followed by sampling one of the fastest growing trends in London right now? Oh hi perfect lazy Saturday afternoon, love your work.

I’ve been looking forward to ‘Chef’ since the first hunger-provoking trailer hit cinemas earlier this year. This is a simple story of a chef looking for a new direction in life, a way to re-connect with those closest to him and a reminder of why he fell in love with food in the first place. With a fantastic turn from director Jon Favreau as Carl, the chef driven to throwing handfuls of lava cake at a disagreeable Oliver Platt, the supporting cast delivers excellence across the board, the soundtrack blends Miami and LA together in an intoxicating medley that makes you want to channel your inner salsa queen and the food?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…from that afore-mentioned grilled cheese to a butter-slicked-and-toasted-till-golden Cubano sandwich to BBQ that comes out of its charcoal pit looking so good you can practically feel your nose twitching and your saliva glands go into overdrive, this is a film for those who like to a) eat food, b) cook food, c) look at food, d) talk about food, e) dream about food or f) enjoy a brief on-the-verge-of creepy-crazy Robert Downey Jr cameo. In short, it’s as close to a perfect little film as it’s possible to get and beautifully demonstrates why a good story told with heart & intelligence will always have a place in cinema and deservedly so.

Right, now that I’ve spent so much time lavishing praise onto this film that you might be wondering if Jon slipped me a tenner ahead of time, let me get o the actual food part of the afternoon. Flesh and Buns. Not ‘Fleshing Buns’ as a colleague somewhat bemusedly asked me on Friday afternoon. Flesh i.e. the meat and buns i.e. the gorgeous little hirata buns to fill with said meat.

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