Chick 'n' Sours is all about free-range fried chicken and sour cocktails. Sounds like a match made in heaven.
Chick ‘n’ Sours opened in Seven Dials at the back end of last year, following on from a very successful original location in Dalston, which opened about 18 months earlier. It’s upmarket fried chicken, with sour cocktails and a great range of sides.
Fried chicken is one of my greatest food loves. It’s something I can’t resist, and is the main reason I bought a fryer for our kitchen at home! Chick ‘n’ Sours source their free-range chicken from two small farms (one in Yorkshire and the other in Somerset). It arrives butchered, and is brined overnight in a buttermilk solution, then comes the top-secret flour coating and a visit to the pressure fryer.
The promise of London’s best fried chicken was more than enough to get me through the door, but it was the Asian inspired starters and sides, which include Szechuan Aubergine and Hunan Style Cucumbers that really got me excited. They have also just started Whole Fry Sunday, which is exactly what you think it is – a whole buttermilk brined & fried free-range chicken with chilli vinegar & gochujang mayo!
We ordered a round of cocktails and a few sides, while the six of us caught up and had a look over menu. I LOVE sour cocktails, and went for the Jalapeño Julep (£9) – Jalapeño infused bourbon, mint and smoke. It was spot on, and had a great balance of heat and sourness.
The Mexi-nese Nachos (£6) were tasty and moreish, with a nice kick from the green chilli and kimchi cheese, but the delicious Szechuan Aubergine (£6) was comfortably the winning starter. Crispy aubergine pieces, topped with a rich sauce, fresh chilli and spring onions – an absolute must.
The menu is concise at Chick ‘n’ Sours, and for your main course you’ve got a choice of three buns (one veggie), two boneless tenders and two fried chicken options. There’s a tribute to KFC, with The Colonel bun – fried thigh, buttermilk & herb mayo, cheese, lettuce & pickles, but I settled on the K-Pop bun (£12), which I’ve seen SO many photos of on Instagram – Korean fried thigh, gochujang mayo, chilli vinegar and Asian slaw.
It’s one hell of an impressive looking burger, stacked up tall with the huge, crispy thigh stretching out of the bun. I was expecting a lot, but found myself underwhelmed… It’s definitely a good burger, but the wow factor was missing for me, and I didn’t get any heat from the gochujang or chilli vinegar.
My friends who went for the Guest Fry (£12) of sweet & sour sauce, soy peppers & pineapple with a drumstick and thigh, had similar thoughts – good, but struggling to live up to all the hype that’s been flying around.
However, the sides were a different story and became the stars of the show. The Pickled Watermelon (£5) with peanuts, coriander & mint in particular was superb. Incredibly juicy, with plenty of zing and punch, as well as bags of freshness from the herbs.
The Hunan Style Cucumbers (£4) with chilli, garlic & sesame were also lovely. Nice and light, fresh and well balanced. The Baby Gem & St. Agur (£4.50) worked really nicely as well, with its rich blue cheese, pickled apple, bacon & chicken skin, but felt a bit out of place amongst the Asian sides.
Mixed feelings. Some of it was great, some of it wasn’t. Service was sketchy, with dishes and drinks being forgotten. It’s pretty loud, making quite hard to chat on a big table, and small cans of beer are £5.
I’m really impressed with the menu though – it feels refined and grown-up, and there are some cracking dishes on offer. Chick ‘n’ Sours is far more than a chicken shop, but I need to go back and try the straight up fried chicken to properly make up my mind.