I’ve been conscious of late that when I cover restaurant reviews, I frequently neglect including chicken dishes in my reviews; my frequent answer is the offerings I tend to come across are so insipid and bland, it would surely only exacerbate my writer’s block. Or it must be the chlorine I’ve been consuming in the few chicken dishes I’ve tried…
Insipid is not a word you can use to label street-food sensation, Butchies. Husband and wife team Garrett and Emer FitzGerald in 2013, set up a fried chicken stall in Broadway Market that was so successful, the queues grew longer and longer until Garrett realised it was probably time to pack in the daytime job and take on Butchies full-time. Fast forward to 2018 and they have a permanent site on Rivington Street in Shoreditch as well as a fancy pop-up on the rooftop of John Lewis’s new music and food venue on Oxford Street.
The Rivington Street branch we visited clearly had New York influences from the many trips the owners had taken to New York for research with comfy bar stools, neat and ergonomic designs. It has a welcoming vibe, although you probably don’t want to spend your whole Sunday afternoon here.
If you are ordering starters and main courses, it is going to be hard to avoid double chicken courses here. Foolishly, I invited a vegetarian guest here thinking they had a buffalo halloumi sandwich or salads available as per the internet menu, but it was temporarily off their menu as they were undergoing a menu change, but I had been promised that the halloumi sandwich would be making a comeback.
It is all about the chicken here after all and I was again thwarted in my ordering attempts as their award-winning kim-chi honey butter wings had sold out! Not that I had anything to compare to, but it seemed their normal buffalo wings were just as sensational. I am not one for ordering meat on the bone, but their version was meaty and particularly piquant due to the Butchies special hot sauce.
Their most indulgent creation is Jenny from the block, which contains fried buttermilk chicken, guac, chipotle mayo and smoked streaky bacon. This is the sandwich you want to hide from the cholesterol police, but also you know it will bring instant joy and gratification. Buttermilk does seem to be the solution these days to smooth over any rough edges (you do wonder if Teresa May just needs some Butchies to get through the working day).
The chicken is extremely succulent, no doubt because these happy birds are free to roam around on the farm at Castlemead poultry. If you are worried my vegetarian friend was starving, fear not; he did enjoy abundant amounts of decent sides like coleslaw and butch (hot shake) fries.