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A chicken joint opposite Clapham Common.
Please note, Yardbird has now closed. Time Out Food editors, November 2017.
Sat across the road from Clapham South tube, Yardbird is a (mostly) slick chicken joint with a menu of hot birds and cheesy, fried sides. It’s certainly natty lookin’: both wood-heavy and bare bricked, with copper beer taps and cod-retro lighting.
Food, too, was mostly good. The main event were the hunks of bird, brined for 24 hours and then either cooked plain, in a jerk marinade or buttermilked, battered and deep-fried. The jerked bird was fragrant and moist enough, though the herbaceous Caribbean rub was sorely lacking in spice; the fried was far more successful – perfectly crisp, well-portioned and succulent. Paired with teeny pots of smoked aioli and Holy Fuck hot sauce, it was hard to fault.
Sides and specials lurched from tip-top to second-rate. Golden, greaseless chicken mac ’n’ cheese balls were as good as that sounds. Blue cheese fries, though, were pallid, erring on soggy. In a glorified fast food spot, fucking up the chips is a schoolboy error.
Service was well-meaning but sloppy. Drinks were forgotten. Wrong dips brought to the table. A dessert of salted caramel ice cream with peanut shards and butterscotch sauce (gimme!) had run out, replaced by a vanilla ice cream and choc sauce number. Fair enough – until a tiny glass of cheapo supermarket ice cream turned up, doused in, I swear, that crappy, cold-hardening Crackin’ sauce. Great for Proustian pudding flashbacks, terrible for £5. They do takeaway, though – so I’d advise you take those hot birds home with you instead.