Smart Living

The Jackal’s Guide to London’s best fried chicken

From buttermilk batters to tangy Korean twists, these five independent chicken shops are finger-lickin' good

There’s nothing quite like an enticing plate of crispy fried chicken. For lunch, as a quick bite after work, post-pub… it’s become the capital’s go-to comfort food. And luckily, times have moved on from greasy, late night takeaways. Nowadays, there’s a plethora of corn-fed, experimentally battered, top notch indie chicken shops on offer in London. From buttermilk batters to zingy Korean twists, here are our top five spots for a finger-lickin’ feast.

Other Side Fried, chicken shops, LondonOSF

If you like your fried chicken dirty, then O.S.F. (which stands for other side fried) is the place to go. They roam Kerb street food markets serving chicken from an old ambulance, but if you prefer something more static you can find them both at POP Brixton and at the achingly cool, newly opened Peckham Levels. Each piece is succulently soft coated in a properly crunchy, tasty breadcrumb-y batter. Order it doused it in ranch dressing, drizzled with honey butter or slathered in American cheese, with a whopping portion of dirty fries – parmesan and hot sauce loaded – on the side.

49 Brixton Station Rd,cSW9 8PQ,

Butchies, London chicken shopsButchies

Starting life with a cult following as a street food fan on Broadway Market, Butchies has settled on Rivington Street in Shoreditch. Garett and Emer FitzGerald’s fried buttermilk chicken butties are awardwinning and regularly recommended by those in the know. There are four variations, but don’t attempt to try them all at once – Original served with garlic and herb mayo and pickles, Butchies Hot Chicken with a hot coating and hot sauce, the Cheesy Rider with cheese dripping, pickles and hot sauce, and Jenny from the Block with guac, chipotle mayo and smoked streaky bacon.

22 Rivington St, EC2A 3DY,

Fried chicken shops, LondonBilly and the Chicks

The Billy in the name is Billy Stock, ex St John’s, now dedicating himself to the cause of good quality fried chicken. All their meat is British and free-range, supplied through family butchers Walter Rose and Son, their bread comes from Bread Ahead, and the cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy – all likeminded small food businesses. They even have a takeaway meal deal – chicken, chips and a drink for £4.99 – not even a quid more than you’d pay at KFC.

27-28 St Anne’s Court, W1F 0BN,

Ma Plucker, London fried chicken shopsMa Plucker

Have your chicken as you like it – on waffles if you like – at Ma Plucker. It’s not just served crispy, buttermilk dipped, and fried here. Get your chicken chilli rubbed and rotisserie roasted or pulled and spicy, and then choose your sauce – chicken skin gravy, chipotle chilli sauce, Kansas BBQ, maple chilli… It’s full-blown southern style chicken and no bones about it.

75 Beak Street, W1F 2SS,

Fried chicken shops, LondonChick ’n’ Sours

Arguably the king of London’s fried chicken scene, Chick’n’sours takes herb-fed chicken as its base and gets imaginative on the servings in an Asian direction. Get a K-Pop sandwich if you like your chicken with a Korean twist, the great Tamarind Express which comes with coconut and green chilli sambol, straight up tender strips served with seaweed crack or coated in Xian Xian spice, coriander and sesame. With a raft of sour cocktails to wash the whole lot down, get there early to bag a spot if you want to sit in.

390 Kingsland Road, E8 4AA and 1a Earlham Street, WC2H 9LL,