There is a new wave of restaurants serving one thing and doing it well. First it was burgers, then ramen, and now fried chicken. Friends Sam and Billy and their ‘chicks’ are all about old-school comfort food served in a simple way, and they do it rather well in their stripped-back restaurant. The exposed brick walls and industrial lighting look may feel overdone to those that dine out regularly, but Billy and the Chicks manages to make its Soho fried chicken joint all about the food, the music and the culture. Owners and staff are incredibly down to earth – no ‘I’m too cool to serve you’ types – so you can relax for as long as you want on wooden benches and stools while a DJ spins hip hop, funk and soul on the turntables in the corner – our soundtrack for the night included N.E.R.D, Nelly and Tupac.
Black and white paper menus give plenty of choice – for under a tenner you can get a meal deal, with a choice of fried chicken pieces, hot wings or ribs along with sides of crisp chips and a choice of homemade gravy made with ham bones, chicken stock and cream, or finely shredded spring onion and red cabbage slaw to liven things up. The ‘ballerina’ chickens, from Walter Rose & Son butchers, can stretch their legs and prance around in the Cotswolds so they have just a touch more fat than the norm for ultimate tenderness. Billy coats chicken in his signature spice blend delivered each day from Spice Mountain in Bermondsey and then deep-fries in groundnut oil to create simple, crisp, moreish fried chook. The chicken burger is a hefty meal – think thick pieces of chicken breast lightly battered and sandwiched in a squidgy sesame bun (delicious dipped in that comforting cream gravy).
Go for a few sides – curly pieces of macaroni are covered in just enough cheese, and ‘riblettes’ (mini ribs) in a sticky sweet chilli balsamic reduction are a highlight. Your fried chicken is brought to the table on a tray, like a posh KFC, and cutlery and condiments are on the table to help yourself to. Save room for apple pie – simple, sugary and very comforting, made all the more indulgent with a hefty swirl of Mr Whippy style ice cream.
Old school favourite sodas are spruced up into cocktails – try Guilt, a rum-spiked take on Lilt, or a cream soda ramped up with ‘flavour of the moment’ bananas, vodka and a splash of rum. Billy has also sourced a great selection of British craft beers including Bermondsey-based Four Pure Brewing Co. Or stick to the classic combo of Red Stripe and fried chicken and join Billy in his fried chicken nostalgia.
We highly recommend paying Billy and his delicious fried chicken joint a visit for a relaxed evening of no-frills dining, simple food done well and hip tunes.
Written by Alex Crossley
Published January 2016
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