VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
ATMOSPHERE AND DECOR: 3/5
Note: Chicken is halal, pork and alcohol served on the premises
It was a Friday night, and ShakerFries and I were looking for a ‘quick fix’ for dinner. Whilst en route to Uptown Burgers in Leyton, I remembered that BIRD has also been on the cards for a while. We decided to try something new, so spontaneously changed direction and headed to the Shoreditch branch.
From chicken and waffles to to your classic chicken burger, BIRD serves free-range fried chicken in a variety of ways, using the freshest of ingredients. Their success has recently led to the launch of their newest branch in Stratford Westfield, with their other three branches located in Shoreditch, Islington, and Camden. Fried chicken is one of my guilty pleasures, and although I have a love for fine dining, everyone who knows me knows that I would take a bucket of chicken base fried chicken and chips any day of the week… (I could most definitely give the chicken connoisseur a run for his money!) This is why I was particularly excited to visit BIRD and had reasonably high expectations.
The restaurant is relatively small and on arrival had a buzzing atmosphere despite it only being half full. Even though there were tons of staff present, some of which had seen us come through the door, it took a good few minutes for us to be approached by someone and a further few minutes to be seated (despite there being several available tables for two). I was already unimpressed, but I acknowledge that it could be due to the fact that I was hangry so I decided to let it slide.
In my eagerness I had already chosen what both ShakerFries and I would have within 30 seconds…yet it still took another 15 minutes to catch the attention of one of the army of waiters before ASKING to place our order. We went for the original waffle burger with honey butter and Canadian maple syrup, 6 drumstick pops in Nashville hot sauce, a portion of fries and buffalo nachos (nachos in buffalo sauce, green chilli cheese, buttermilk ranch, jalapeños, sour cream and guacamole)… yeah we were well in over our head.
Poor service aside, the food arrived in record time. We immediately realised we had probably ordered too much! We halved the waffle burger which I enjoyed overall but struggled to finish. I was slightly disappointed with the burger as the crispy batter surrounding the tender chicken breast lacked flavour and seasoning. On a more positive note, the waffle was warm, light and fluffy, and they definitely get points for novelty in terms of the rest of the flavours, which were crunchy, tangy and sweet all at the same time.
The drumstick pops were a little too spicy for me, and again although each pop was meaty and tender, the batter lacked flavour which I feel should have been perfect given that we were in a fried chicken shop. The fries were nothing short of abysmal.. They were so oily that they were crunchy and tasteless and it was clear that the oil that was used to fry them needed changing.
The nachos were probably the best thing we ate after the waffle burger. I especially enjoyed the sour cream/nacho/buffalo sauce combination! Unfortunately, we were SO STUFFED from the waffle burger that we couldn’t finish..
I was left overall feeling kind of MEH after the whole meal, and if you ask ShakerFries I’m sure he would have been even more brutally honest about his dislike for our meal! I was full but not content and feel the food was satisfactory at best. I think the main things that were a let down on this occasion were A) The service, B) the bland batter on the chicken and C) The terrible fries! It didn’t help that we were waiting for the bill for a further 15 minutes after asking for it. I think both of us were left feeling fed up in the end. The bill came to £35 which is okay. We paid and got out ASAP..feeling full yet deflated. Although BIRD has a few novel concepts when it comes to their menu, they didn’t come together as I expected. Personally I won’t be visiting again any time soon.