Some bedrocks of British culture, like Fenton the dog or clapping, are here today and gone tomorrow. But others, like wing roulette, or Canta (it’s Coke and Fanta) are very much here to stay. The problem is that you can’t really say if you’re not a fan of a certain chicken institution. Umming and erring over whether you want peri-salted chips is, along with Superdry rain jackets, like admitting you’re undercover police. Or worse, a member of a short-lived political party. But the fact is, you can order better grilled or roasted chicken in London. And here are 6 places to do so from.
THE CHICKEN SPOTS
Sidechick is an offshoot of the Patty & Bun brand and we can safely say it’s one of the best takeaways you can get in London right now. Their thing is, quite simply, roast chicken. And when roast chicken is juicy and crispy and bone-suckingly good, like it is here, it’s simply one of the best things in the world. You can choose from three marinades - za’atar with garlic honey and lemon is our favourite - and pair with crispy potatoes, salads, or smoky aubergine with labneh. It’s available for delivery and takeaway in Hackney, or from P&B in White City.
You’ll find O Tino a five minute walk away from Mornington Crescent station but if you’re ordering in, you’ll more than likely find a hefty grilled chicken with chips and black beans coming your way. The chicken at this traditional Portguese spot is tasty and the skin deliciously blackened in bits, while the chips are perfectly out of the bag and crisp. Menu-wise we’d recommend the wings and a quarter chicken and also some chorizo on the side. Oh, and the homemade hot sauce. It “creeps up on you like a cat burglar holding a flamethrower”.
The Portuguese piri-piri chicken spot has locations in Southwark and Shoreditch and both make reliably tasty chicken along with excellent sides like batatas fritas, sweet potato feijoada, chorizo rice, bacalhau fritters, and chorizo and plantain rice. The bird itself is glazed in either piri piri, oregano, or lemon and garlic glaze. Sure, its juiciness can be a little hit or miss. But the range of sides make it a great choice for sharing.
Another lockdown chicken pivot came from Leroy in the shape of Royale, a rotisserie chicken specialist that’s popping up at the East London Liquor Company, or for delivery and takeaway. The weighty corn-fed birds are smothered in a salty rub and come with a pile of potatoes that gently showered in the juices of the rotating chickens above. If you’ve ever got a chicken and a bag of potatoes from a market on holiday, then you’ll know how good this is. Also, hot sauce fans needn’t worry - you can get a homemade scotch bonnet number on the side.
O Barros - Cafe Bar
O Barros is a traditional Portuguese cafe, restaurant, and general have-a-sit-down spot in Little Portugal in Stockwell. Frango no churrasco, a whole marinated and grilled chicken with chips, rice and salad is a steal at £12.50, and like any neighbourhood stalwart, O Barros is open from first thing in the morning to late (well, 10pm) at night.
Cocotte has a few locations across London - in Notting Hill, Parson’s Green, and Shoreditch - so it’s a good option for when you’re craving juicy chicken and a whole range of salad-y and potato-heavy sides. They offer a strong selection of sauces, aioli, to gravy, to the enticing and mysteriously named ‘spicy’, as well as a few others. Along with bits like truffle mash, fries, mac and cheese, and caesar salad, it’s a useful spot when everyone wants juicy chicken, but with different things.