I LOVE fried chicken. On a hungover Sunday my absolute saviour would be a dirty KFC wrap. I know this isn’t civilized behaviour, and I’d hide it from all my friends, but that salty spicy, tender chicken just always does it for me. As I don’t want to casually dine in a KFC on a Monday night, I knew I needed to find somewhere that would give me that fried chicken fix but wouldn’t leave me with a feeling of an illicit and embarrassing affair.
I heard about Chooks a couple of weeks ago and knew i had to try it. Famed for their fried chicken and splendid sides, it seemed like the place I’d been dreaming of. Tucked away in leafy Muswell Hill, it’s only a short bus ride away so it was fate.
Fried chicken is not their only offering – they also have Nandos-style 1/4, 1/2 and whole chicken arrangements with a choice of marinades. There’s also a rather alluring range of subs, salads and a small but perfect accompaniment of amazing American style sides. My favourite thing about their menu is their Man Vs Food style ‘hot wing challenge’. If I had more time and courage, I’d definitely give it a go.
We had nachos, buttermilk fried chicken (obvs) with mash and gravy, half a BBQ chicken, the onion rings and macaroni cheese. This was definitely too much food for two people. Even my fellow diner who can normally finish off ANYTHING was struggling. The nachos were ok, but had that strange unnerving sauce style cheese, which made them a bit too salty.
The fried chicken nearly rocked my world. The plate was piled with three huge hunks of fried chicken and mash with salty gravy that was so perfect with the chicken. It wasn’t too greasy so didn’t leave you with that horrible oily film that my dearest KFC can occasionally create. I did wish that that the fried chicken had a little more spice and flavour to make it really stand out.
We went for BBQ sauce on the chicken, which was sticky and just the right level of sweet, but I’d love to try the buffalo sauce next time. The macaroni cheese and onion rings offset the tangy sauce wonderfully, but were both a little greasy. It all came to £37 including service and drinks – considering the amount of food we had, that was pretty reasonable.
Yes, it’s a pretty self-consciously trendy place with some of those stereotypically hip restaurant touches (e.g. eating off paper on trays and cocktails served in jam jars à la Meat Liquor) but if you want to try the latest London food fad, you need to get over this. After failing to get into Rita’s after several attempts, I’ve found my new fried chicken restaurant and I don’t care who knows about it.