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Fried chicken joint on Commercial Road.
I like fried chicken. A lot. And I like east London. Also a lot. So I really wanted to like this newbie, which has just swooped down onto traffic-clogged Commercial Road. And it wasn’t all bad. It had cute – if slightly contrived – faux-farmhouse interiors. Think leather booths with belts-and-buckles, philosophical statements on the floorboards and lightbulbs in ‘birdcages’ (of course). Staff are extremely enthusiastic, even the vegetarian who conceded he ‘hadn’t tried any of the chicken’.
How they manage to stay so cheery is beyond me: on my Saturday night visit, the restaurant was mostly empty and the food pretty disappointing. The ‘buttermilk’ batter on my fried chicken wings was overwhelmed by dried herbs, the meat a little tough. Buffalo wings came with a thin blue cheese dressing again dominated by dried herbs. There was a good cabbage and onion slaw, sweetened with apple and carrot – but again, too many dried herbs. Seriously. Instead of much-needed salt, fries had been seasoned with spices and… Yup, you guessed it. Dessert was no better: overly sweet, dried-out cookies with milk, a cloying cheesecake with an Oreo base and Reese’s Pieces middle.
There are a lot of excellent fried chicken joints in London right now – this bird has a long way to go to keep up with the flock.