Please note, CHICKENliquor has now closed. Time Out Food Editors, January 2019.
Sitting among the independent shops, stalls and eateries in covered Market Row, CHICKENliquor (known in its former incarnation as Wishbone) is a trendy, 'ironic' fried chicken restaurant in an area almost synonymous with the fast-food chicken shops that everyone regrets the morning after the night before.
Street art covers the walls, soul music and hip-hop are on the playlist, boxes of hot sauce are stacked high, and customers perch at bright-yellow breakfast bars – the look is of an urban, stripped-back eating space.
Crispy, breaded chicken came in a roll garnished with crushed peanuts, spring onion, chinese cabbage, pickled daikon and chilli mayo. It was a texture sensation: the tender chicken is coated in a peppery, crunchy shell, while the peanuts go well with the sharper, softer cabbage and onion mix.
Portions are large, but an additional order of ’slaw is a good idea – it’s light, fresh and crunchy, making a nice contrast with the chicken. An extensive bar contains a range of spirits, but you’ll probably want to go elsewhere for an evening out.
In April 2014 it was announced to some fanfare that the restaurant had been acquired by Meatliquor, which is hardly a surprise as the same founder (Scott Collins) has shares in both. As well as the new name and a revamp of the decor, Meatliquor dishes, such as the chicken burger, have been added to the original menu.
|Venue name:||CHICKENliquor – CLOSED|
12 Market Row
|Cross street:||Brixton Market|
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat noon-11pm; Sun noon-10pm|
|Transport:||Tube: Brixton tube/rail|
|Price:||Main courses £5-£7. Set menu (noon-4pm Mon-Fri) £7 2 courses (incl soft drink). Meal for two with drinks and service: around £35|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
2.1 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:4
- 3 star:4
- 2 star:10
- 1 star:19
Great choice of chicken - love the chicken shop and Korean - proper meaty chicken on the bone and decent portions.
Whilst I love the idea of this restaurant, in practice this was deeply disappointing. The food is average, the only saving grace being the mac&cheese bites. On my last visit to the restaurant, I contracted food poisoning and had to go through the protracted experience of describing all of the symptoms to a hygiene consultant hired by this chain of restaurants and then being handed a report shifting all blame to the "external environment". At no point did anyone apologize directly to me for having given me food poisoning, and they even 'accidentally' deleted my original email to them informing them of what had happened.
I forked out £20 for a burger, a beer, and bucket load of food poisoning. Not ideal.
Amazed by a lot of the reviews here. This place has been a revelation to me since it opened in Brixton. Don't usually do fried chicken but visit here every fortnight. Sitting there right now writing this drinking a Pauliner weisse beer from a chilled glass.
I don't normally write reviews but I was so utterly disappointed with this place I felt I had to. Do not waste your money here! The food was below average, with some of it pretty inedible. The cocktail was rubbish, particularly when you can go to Seven or Shrub and Shutter for an amazing cocktail for the same price. I will never go here again and will be telling anyone else not to bother. Completely style over substance and I feel I was duped into thinking they might care what they were serving customers because of the brand they have painstakingly built with MEATliquor - turns out this place is just a way for them to take money from people while they can. I'd rather spend my cash in the many other places in Brixton who actually deserve it.
Truly awful food, had the boneless bites,were cold, and appeared to have been made previously, and reheated, the toppings looked stale, and felt ill afterwards, most disappointing place to eat in Brixton.
I really don't know how you can get simple food so wrong. I was so exited for my Chicken Shop Wings i would of ate the table in anticipation. If i had done so i would of had a far tastier meal. My wings were extremely dry, the chicken tough and looked awful enough that i wouldn't even of given them to a stray dog, yet they were happy to serve them to me. I don't know if i got unlucky and got left overs from the night before as we looked like the first customers but i won't be going back to find out. This is the first time I've ever wrote a review on anything but it just pains me to have to spend good money for what essentially is "fast food", and bad fast food at that.
However, my brother said the burger was delicious and i enjoyed the side order of onions and hash browns.
Definitely gone downhill after the take over by Meatliquor and name change. Portions were much better served in box's mainly as they stayed warm rather than scattered around on a tray. It was all cold by half way through our meal!
Think the burger is over priced at £7.50.
They should provide better hand wash facilities considering you eat with your hands.
This place has it all wrong! The concept, design and atmosphere is spot on but the food another story. I ordered the thai style wings expecting juicy flavoursome meat but instead received hard batter coated wings with a drizzle of dressing. Stay away from anything with cheese as the bright orange processed cheese ruins the taste of anything underneath. Too many other options in Brixton for me to ever consider going back.
I've never submitted a review before but I feel like I must share this. I will start by saying I am a massive fan of Meat Liquor, I've been a dozen times and despite the long wait have never had a bad experience. Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when I heard the news that they had opened Wishbone. I went this afternoon with a couple of friends and we were appalled. The salt and pepper thighs were slightly burnt, the buffalo wings tasted old and greasy. TheTower Block burger bun was frozen underneath - which we sent back! The only decent thing were the fries, but they were on par with something you would find in Macdonalds. Awful experience, very disappointing. Avoid at all costs.
I don't often review restaurants, but had such a disappointing meal here I thought I should share. I asked for 3 pieces of fried chicken, but was told that they only do it on Thursdays and Fridays, so I opted for the salt and pepper thighs. The 'thighs' were actually small, randomly chopped pieces of chicken. The chicken itself was completely overwhelmed by the coating which was far too thick and over-seasoned. What little chicken there was underneath the coating was dry and flavourless. The fries were better, but reminded me of McDonald's. I was the only customer on a Wednesday lunchtime while many of the other eateries in Brixton Market were busy, so the locals must be in the know. The idea of good quality free range fried chicken is a really good one. It's a real shame that the food isn't better here.
Running of the hype of meat-liquor and some PR guru's this place tends to keep busy. However three visits and three strikes. Very average wings and have had issues each time with cold food, missing orders and why the hell aren't the buffalo wings de-tiped and split? I'd avoid at all costs, better wings can be found at the joint, fish wings and tings not to mention any of the local dirty chicken shops.
I was so pleased to hear of a fried chicken place opening to serve free-range meat and was really looking forward to some good quality southern american grub. After hearing half the menu was sold out we opted for thai thighs, 2 chicken pieces, a hash brown mess thing and the pea salad. Sadly, the hash brown mess was the best thing, and even that was coated in a processed cheese sauce. However, what I came for was fried chicken- this was awful. The chicken itself was tasty but slightly dry, the coating was the worst bit; under-seasoned and burnt, it tasted of nothing but old oil. The thai thighs had a nice topping (again the actual coating was overcooked and tasteless), but were so dry I became bored of chewing dry mint leaves halfway through. The Pea salad was a refreshing contrast to the bitter oil taste, but it had about 10 peas in the whole thing which was mainly peppers and onions and had a ok dressing. The tub of wet wipes on each table is a good idea, though you feel like you need them after visiting the only working toilet which was more like a dingy club loo, already in need of a make over. The freshly squeezed orange juice was nice. I will not be going back, such a let-down....I really wanted to like this place, it could be a million times better than it is, but style over substance will never work for me.
Terrible place, seriously. Lousy food. Lousy service. The chicken is all done exactly the same, so if you ask for Korean or BBQ sauce or whatever, doesn't matter, you get the same execrable, crunchy bits of something. I couldn't even tell if the "thighs" were chicken. It seemed like it was all just tasteless balls of over-cooked batter. It was pop-corn chicken not chicken thighs. The coleslaw was bland. The Hobo lager tasted no better than Tesco's unbranded lager. We ordered drinks, but when we took five seconds too long to make up our minds about whether to have this beer or that, the waitress said, "Should I come back?" LIke, hurry the f*** up, I've got tables to serve. She asked if we also wanted water. We said yes. The water didn't arrive. Near the end of the meal, she asked again. Do you want water? We said yes please. The water finally arrived as we were getting ready to go. I couldn't hear a word anyone was saying because the music was so loud. I can understand cranking the music up a bit after 8 or 9 to get a bit of an atmosphere going, but it was 6:30pm and the place was nearly empty. I asked the waitress if it was possible to turn the music down...just a notch. She said she'd ask the manager. The music got progressively louder, killing any chance of conversation. I asked a second waitress if she would please turn the music down. She said, "I'll ask my manager, but I don't think he'll turn it down. He likes it loud." I said, "So it's what your manager likes? Not what the customers like?" She said, "Yeah, I know. We can hardly hear what the customers are ordering most of the time." Then there's the clientele. The place was full of twenty-something year old white hipsters with their identikit slim cut plaid shirts and fake spectacles. This is Brixton for christssake. Where's the diversity?!
The interior is cool and staff are good, wings sauces, particularly the Korean, are excellent. However they use too much batter and the wings are not trimmed into prime joints and mid joints and they leave the horrible tips on that you can't eat. Also battery chickens are used only to produce eggs for eating, not meat. So they would definitely not be using these type of chickens for the meat.
Quality of the food is very poor, particularly in the light of their premium pricing compared to other chicken restaurants. The "Korean Wings" are a particular weak point on the menu, and are nothing like the fried chicken typically served in Korea. The sauce had far too much vinegar, lacked garlic and sugar, and seemed to have been made with wrong kind of chilli (i.e. not gochujang).
This is an absolutely awful place!!! The food is disgusting, we weren't sure if it was chicken we had as there was no taste. The decor, ethos and vibe is so not Brixton - what were they thinking when they decided to open? Don't think they did their research! Don't visit this place even if you think you'll give it a go once - its a disappointing blot on the landscape of Brixtons vibrant community. Hope they close down soon and let some other person succeed in their place.
Honestly one of the worst meals I've had in London. The chicken itself doesn't taste of much, with no discernible texture, and the sauces are totally overwhelmingly peppery and vinegary. To repeat what others have said, KFC is better.
The one star is for the cocktail I had. Everything else gets a zero. Chicken would have been fine if not for the sauce. There is something wrong with their Buffalo sauce! Powerfully vinegary like acid and left a dank puddle in the bottom on the basket. The toxic vapours coming up from it were vile. Mac n cheese - novel, gooey and under seasoned. Actually, pretty much pointless. Rude service. Just abysmal! Shame to see this is how even the free range chickens end up. Spend your hard earned cash somewhere else.
If I could give it zero stars I would. Terrible chicken, worst I've ever had. Honestly would have rather have gone to KFC. The buffalo wings were SO vinegary and sloppy that by the time you'd dipped in for a handful of chips the chicken was sodden. Really unappetising and to make matters worse you are balancing on a child's high chair . There's fun and quirky, and then there is down right shabby, I am a regular goer to Brixton Village and Market Row as I live nearby and I have never experienced such poor quality food in the area before. Vile.
Went to Wishbone yesterday, and it was shockingly bad. Honestly dreadful. We ordered chicken thighs, buffalo wings, deep fried mac-n-cheese and fries, and it was all just dire. The thighs came with a deeply unpleasant claggy breading and the wings were far, far too vinegary, and awkwardly served without being split. The deep fried mac-n-cheese was just unspeakably nasty. The fries were fine, but at £2.50, they were taking the piss with the pricing. We tried to ask our server if there'd been a mistake in the buffalo sauce, but he just blew us off with a breezy "It's supposed to be quite vinegary, yeah?" and then asked if we wanted more drinks. No. No, we really didn't. I've only ever had good food at any of the places I've tried in Brixton Market, but I actually feel properly annoyed at myself for going to Wishbone. The whole experience felt like a cynical exercise in liberating hopeful customers from their cash as cheaply as possible.
Really wanted to love this place, and I do like the vibe whilst there, the cocktails are decent but when it came to the food, well... lots of room for improvement. When I heard a fried chicken place was coming, I was stoked, but there really isn't proper fried chicken on the menu and the "Buffalo Wings" - when I was talking to one of the owners, he asked what I thought as I grew up across the river (Canadian side) from Buffalo and happen to love and know them well. Not. Even. Close. I'd rather go somewhere else in the market...
Had a great lunch at wishbone today. Too much to eat so took some home. The chicken sandwich was delicious just the right mix of crunchy chicken, tangy sauce and soft bread roll. Deep fried mac n cheese just has to be experienced. Service was excellent, friendly & fast
Poorly prepped wings, questionable flavour combos (I came wanting fried chicken), insane decision to serve thighs as dry nuggets that are visually comparable to animal droppings, reasonable slaw, tasty (if somewhat generic) sours. Seemingly this is just a hangout for hipsters who have no taste in food and too much money to consider what this traditionally low cost food stuff should be like. Skip it and you won't be missing anything.
Worst food I've eaten in a long time. Huge flopping unjointed wings caked in greasy thick batter and doused in a sauce that tasted like battery acid. Dried up stringy little nuggets in catering pack Southern fried seasoning. Chips that make Maccy D's seem like Heston's triple fried numbers. Deep fried mac n'cheese in lurid orange breadcrumbs made with value cheese. Food this bad at these prices is ludicrously expensive. It's an insult to the small businesses in Brixton who turn out good food in places a tenth of the size and with a charm and level of service Wishbone couldn't even spell that this place exists...
Decidedly average experience. There is a reason there are hundreds of fried chicken shops in London - and this isn't it. This is basically a hipster-dependent, unimaginative and sloppy interpretation of the chicken shop and it's a shame it doesn't work because the principle of a free range fried chicken shop is simple and should just work. Playing "Hip Hop" to white middle class people in Brixton whilst overcharging them for bad cocktails kind of sums it up really. Good luck.
Not the greatest. Was served cold wings, service was cheerful but haphazard. The thai chicken was quite nice, but I am not sure why the buffalo wings are served as a whole wing and not halved and tipped in the traditional hot wing style. Makes for uneasy eating. Plenty of better options in the market.
Had korean wings too heavy handed with flavour so much going on it wasn't enjoyable and very strong vinegar taste...the thai chicken was nice but the portion was pretty small , coleslaw was ok but nothing special and the wine size I thought a bit cheeky for the price. The service was good and it's a nice idea but I won't be eating here again and I wouldn't recommend it either. So many other nice places in village that kick it better
Disappointing. Buffalo wings sauce was good but batter much too thick and chicken average. The wings at Bodeans in Clapham are MUCH better. With all the choice in Brixton Village I won't be going back. @brandbnt
Came with two mates and ordered most of the menu. Wasnt too expensive and we had enough to take some home with us! Was delicious chicken, definiatley messy but indeed worth the mess. Great cocktails, great music and overall a good experience. I took a peek upstairs where they are developing and that will add more space and more selection of seating. I look forward to returing again!
It's OK. Tables are tiny and pretty uncomfortable. I had the chicken in a roll thing which I have to say was pretty ungenerous with the amount of fried chicken in it. The sours are good but there's not a lot else to recommend here. You'd get a better (and cheaper) chicken bap at Spit & Roast at Kerb King's Cross.
I have been to Wishbone brixton twice now, I think it's that good. The twice fried Korean wings with fermented chili are the bomb. Took my girlfriend the second time around and she had the chicken shop chicken wings and loved them. Initially sceptical of the deep fried mac and cheese, but after trying it she was sold on them. Portions are suitably large and very tasty. Another visit is definitely on the cards with family.
Eating out in the covered markets of Brixton isn't fine dining but that doesn't mean you should be treated like so shoddily. The queue was long, we waited with cocktails and then saw later arrivals being seated before us... They don't seem ready. Wishbone opened far later than they expected and I think they still haven't got the system sorted. Cocktails were good ish, the beer choice is weak and atmosphere was too frickin intense, elbows in your head as you eat... I had 2 servers, neither with a clue and a 5 minute check in by the manager who seemed not to be bothered by the long wait for drinks let alone the wait for food which i'll discuss now. So OK, the chicken we had was reasonable in taste and value but was very batter heavy, the asian style chicken was tepid on arrival and not crisp, surely fried chicken is all; about crispy? Lastly, the chips were dire, give me a cash and carry card, a deep fat fryer andI know i could do better. I really want to like this place but I can't yet, i'll try it again but right now there are too many considerably better food vendors in the area.
Overhyped, Top heavy on the coating and light on the meat, think those chickens got a little too much free range. Would go for a few drinks, rather than for the chicken in it's own right
Great service, over hyped food. Everything was over seasoned and tasted far too much of vinegar, to the point that some items were difficult to eat. There are far better places to eat in Brixton Market.
Absolutely delicious food from the people behind Meat Liquor. We went there last night and couldn't recommend the food more highly, we never wanted it to end. I've never eaten chicken like it... Service and cocktails are excellent and its fantastic value for money too. Get there before EVERYONE else does!! Yum, yum, yum...
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