Absurd Bird comes to Spitafields’s Commercial Street in March this year with the headline of ‘bringing the soul – warming comfort food of the American South to London & beyond! We promise honest grub, good value, and a twist to take on the Southern classics’. I for one love fried chicken,(that excludes your high-st main-stays of course without naming or shaming), so after hearing this I couldn’t resist a visit. I was coaxed more when I found out that the chickens are raised without additives-stroke-hormones and roam free at the Fosse Meadows Farm.
The menu is twisted for sure as I can’t imagine people of the American South indulging in quinoa salad.
The twisted theme continues with their bespoke cocktails. I dined during my lunch break at work so I didn’t indulge this time round.
The interior is rustic and relaxed which is spread across a couple of floors. We we’re the first here during the lunch service which remained quite empty during our time here.
Smoked chicken wings from the Wingshack – £6 for four. The flesh prised off the bones with ease which is conducive of how smoke can tenderise protein, I liked this. What let them down was a lack of flavour, so they were easily left in the forgotten pile.
The ranch dip they came with couldn’t revive them either.
Buffalo chicken wings – £6 for four. Fried and coated in buffalo sauce which from what I can taste is vinegar, cayenne and perhaps some onion & garlic powder. The flavour was good with these, but the wings would have benefitted with more cooking as prising the unyielding flesh off the bone required the jaws of a pitbull.
Coleslaw salad £3.5. Freshly shredded cabbage, onion, apple and carrot with a perfectly balanced dressing, ironically ended up being one of the best dishes I ate.
Spicy sweet potato fries £4.50. Coated in a brilliant seasoning and fried to give it the perfect exterior – these were good.
Corn bread pudding £5.50. Crumbly, sweet, fresh from the oven and if there was custard available I would have zero qualms about pouring it on! (It could have benefitted from a bit of moisture as it tasted a bit parched).
Dirty buns £8 for 3 served in bao buns, spicy mayo and pickle. So why the odd number, why couldn’t we have four? In spite of being a little steep on the price, the bao wasn’t that great. I found the bun sucked all the moisture out of my mouth as did the chicken. A shame really.
Chicken and waffles £11 with smoked sweet gravy & and maple syrup. So finally after a couple of chases the piece de resistance arrives after 40 minutes of waiting. It’s either that the kitchen had forgotten about us or they have been busy with their Deliveroo orders (evidenced by the constant flurry of their delivery folk walking in and out). However, it is actually quite nice, albeit not in a heart racing way. The craggy crust was extremely crunchy which coated the juicy chicken within. The waffle batter was a tad on the plain side, I was expecting something sweeter.
When did I go? July 2016
The damage: Expect to pay £30-£35 per head with drinks.
The good: In spite of the extra long wait (40 minutes) the main event of chicken & waffles was actually quite good as were the sweet potato fries and coleslaw. The manager apologised profusely and offered some cocktails on the house but since our lunch break is only an hour, it was a lost gesture.
The bad: Our meal typified a hit and miss experience and given the similar price bracket and location I’d sooner jump on the bus to Chick n Sours.
Address: 54 Commercial St, London E1 6LT
Closest tube: Liverpool St/Old St