Bird (Chicken) – Camden, London (Eat Out To Help Out)
This particular venue has made good use of its space with a Covid-friendly setup that utilises one door as an entrance and the other next door as an exit.
Markings at the front of shop, which designate a 1-meter social distancing rule, had us waiting our turn outdoors before being invited in to sanitise our hands, choose to make use of a box full of vinyl gloves, and sign a track-and-trace book. All good so far.
While Bird’s chicken is fully Halal (as verified by a Halal certificate visibly affixed to the front door itself), we were immediately informed upon inquiry that their gravy and Nashville Hot sauce are not Halal.
In addition, we were also told that although a Bacon & Cheese burger was available on the menu, the former was stored, prepped and cooked entirely separately so as to avoid any cross-contamination. Again, so far so good.
This box of Cheesy Korean Fries sounded better on paper than what materialised. To be sure, this was fairly one-dimensional, with standard fries messily covered in a watery, bright orange Korean sauce, a drizzle of mayo, chopped spring onions, and some melted cheese. All in all, a tangy-wet taste and texture, which turned out to be a pleasant eat, though nothing more.
And with such a large variety to choose from, while that might explain why these ultra-crispy morsels, which were undoubtedly moist on the inside, were barely seasoned, it doesn’t explain why they were quite so oily.
In any case, the sauces were the stars of the show here. For the purposes of this review, we were presented with an assortment of Buffalo, Sticky Soy, Buttermilk Ranch, Blue Cheese, Honey Ginger, House BBQ, House Lemon, and Royale.
There was a reason why the manager insisted that The Original Waffle Burger be firmly at the top of our review list.
However, we couldn’t help but wonder how much better it would have been had these thick waffles just come off the griddle. Although they held up really well, they had either been warmed through prior to being served, or left to sit around a while.
Having said that though, this was an extremely tasty burger, with moist succulent poultry, and plenty of that classic sweet ‘n’ savoury umami-ness that comes with the chicken and waffle combo.
With another large and juicy piece of chicken thigh defining this burger, we enjoyed the way in which all that creamy-crunchy blue cheese slaw combined with the sour tanginess of the Buffalo to bring this entire thing together.
Despite the piquancy of the blue cheese dominating, though not in an unpleasant way, that familiar sour edge of the Buffalo sauce did filter through every so often.
Its biggest shortcoming, in our collective opinion of three, was that the Royale sauce, in conjunction with the other condiments, simply wasn’t strong enough in flavour to mask the fact that Bird’s chicken batter in general was so lightly seasoned that, after a few bites, it culminated in a sameness of taste.
In the end, this burger was just monotonic in flavour, with only the pickles imparting a little zing if that. Otherwise this was a rather disinteresting affair.
The only factor separating this Korean burger from the aforementioned Royale, was the addition of the Korean sauce, which was just about strong enough to impart a little more flavour than the Royale sauce. But again, it was all a bit too uniform.
It has to be said that the freshness of these Dougnut Holes, as they were called, took us completely by surprise given that we were expecting your premade variety.
Instead, we were treated to balls of hot, fluffy goodness that were positively enveloped in an avalanche of fine cinnamon sugar.
Accompanied by a pot each of chocolate and caramel sauces, it’ll probably require a seasoned sweet tooth to devour this portion of four. Having said that though, these were surprisingly light.
As for the sauces, then the chocolate was quite insipid and more a lightly flavoured syrup than your Nutella variety. As such, the caramel was our choice of nectar.
- YES/ YES
- CHILD SEATING
- UBER EATS
- JUST EAT
Renowned, of course, for their fried chicken, the stand out dish for us was their unique Chicken & Waffle burger, which easily stood out from the total of four burgers tried on the day.
In general, their fried chicken was well cooked, turning out moist on the inside and crunchy rather than crispy on the out, and being a tad oily too on occasions. What's more, those burgers, whose sauce was relatively mild to begin with, such as the Royale, failed to adequately mask the monotony of flavour delivered by what was otherwise a lightly seasoned batter and no more. Perhaps adding some spice to the batter, or at least offering this as an option, might be an idea for the more subtly flavoured sandwiches.
On the whole though, Bird impressed with their ambition and menu. You can understand why they boast half-a-dozen locations across London.
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