In the heart of Shoreditch, a surprisingly straight-down-the-line chicken shop, offering a good range of glazes and dips, without affectation.
Given the street-credible location – actually under a railway bridge – what’s remarkable about this Shoreditch newcomer is how it’s really not trying that hard to be hip. Remarkably, no one has bothered trying to give the impression that somehow you’ve stumbled into a ’30s Lower East Side deli, or a ’50s Brooklyn pizzeria, that’s somehow been magically transported to E2. In fact, Bird struck us – and we mean this as a compliment – as a sort of upmarket McDonalds.
So, here, form follows function, and the design is simple, bright, pleasant and functional, in a way which older readers might find surprisingly reminiscent of a Wimpy bar. Times move on, of course, and the set-up is rather more comfortable (and certainly much more spacious) than you might have found in the ’60s, and the fare is more ambitious too. But only a bit. There’s only one basic menu item – yes, ‘free-range chicken from a single farm in Wales’, as they proudly tell you. Nice to know no one’s popping out to Sainsbury’s then.
But, given the dull-sounding starting point, how they manage to inject a bit of variety! Who’d have though that boyo-chicken could form the basis of a good Korean lunch? One of the options here among the various dips and batters is to have a – chilli-rich – ‘gochujang’ glaze, which was the one the waiter recommended. Seemed rude not to accompany this with piquant Korean cucumber salad, cold Korean beer and, er, chips. No, not remotely oriental, admittedly, but they went down very well: McD’s quality, but thicker.
For pudding, mini-doughnut balls with a salted caramel dip: perhaps not the religious experience we’d been hoping for, but we seemed to finish ’em somehow. Perfectly decent coffee too. So, at last, a Shoreditch hang-out for those too cool to embrace hipsterdom.
Any chance it might catch on?