It's no secret: I love fried chicken. This isn't just a casual, passing love; but more of a could- eat-morning-noon-and-night type of thing. It’s probably 70% of the reason I’ve started to hit the gym (begrudgingly) again and also probably 50% of the reason I’ll be heading to Sydney next year: HELLO, CHICKEN SALT.
While ‘chicken shops’ are a defining feature of London’s urban landscape, as I’ve got older, so has my fried chicken tastes. While a trip to the chippie will never be well and truly out of my system, here are a couple of spots in the UK’s capital you can hit up with a knife and fork.
One of my absolute faves. With outposts in Kensington, Soho, Carnaby Street and Shoreditch (plus Oxford, if you need your fix past the M25), the restaurant has a cool high-class American vibe and, as well as the chicken, serve some great cocktails too. My go to is the chicken and waffles with maple syrup (salt and sweet balance out perfectly, as do the crispiness of the skin with the softness of the waffle…) but you can opt for full or half plates, with sides. Their chips are world-class - the garlic fries taste like cheese and onion French Fries crisps.
The Jam Tree
With branches in Chelsea and Clapham, the clientele of The Jam Tree are not easily impressed. However, boozy brunch? Yes, please! The fried chicken and waffles here is amazing, too. (Are you seeing a theme?) Piled high, no amount of Bloody Marys or Prosecco will equal that plate perfection (even though I love them, as well).
There’s something about Korean fried chicken that is just unbeatable, in my humble opinion. The best I’ve ever had was at an unassuming restaurant in New York’s Hell Kitchen area (my mum watched in awe as I sunk about 8 drumsticks, pushing aside the rice, cos who needs that distraction?), but Kimchi, near Holborn, comes pretty damn close. Chimaek is a popular starter dish, often served with beer and pickled radish, and you can choose to cover the delicious meat with an even more delicious sauce - hot and spicy soy is my fave.
I’m sorry (not sorry), but you can't go wrong with the Colonel! And, in some places in London, you can get it delivered right to your door via Deliveroo. Which I do. On the regular. I often get into disagreements with colleagues and pals about what the best bit of the chicken is, but I stand by the fact that it’s the drumstick: they're wayyy juicier than the other bits, and the delicious skin is a lot more readily available for eating on its own. Also, popcorn chicken makes a great side.
I’ll be adding to this list on the reg; let me know your recommendations!