The Best Fried Chicken in London with James Cochran
The Best Fried Chicken in London with James CochranJames Cochran
Great British Menu winner James Cochran saw his celebrated fine-dining restaurant 12:51 closed due to the pandemic, thinking fast Around The Cluck was born and James and team have been keeping locals happy at home with his famed fried chicken ever since. 12:51 has re-opened and the team continue to keep ATC very much alive.
"Fried chicken is special to London, everyone eats it: kids after school, people on the bus, city guys in suits. As soon as I see a fried chicken joint my eyes light up, childhood memories come flooding back and I'm happy. If I was on death row, I’d take all the menu from Around the Cluck - with chips and curry sauce, and maybe cheese. Whether it's at your local high-street chicken shop or a high-end restaurant, fried chicken has become truly universal. It crosses the class divide and brings together so many different cultures and cuisines - just like London itself."
In this Guide
“If I was on death row, I’d take all the menu from Around the Cluck - with chips and curry sauce, and maybe cheese. Whether it's at your local high-street chicken shop or a high-end restaurant, fried chicken has become truly universal.”More Info
“Morleys have always been fiercely south east London based - but have now actually ventured on to Brick Lane and Finsbury Park. It’s a fried chicken institution and has been a big part of my life since I was introduced to it back in the early 90s visiting Brixton for the first time with my mum. Four chicken wings for a pound has always been my go to order.”More Info
“To me these guys represent the new wave of how we eat chicken in London. They put a restaurant fried chicken on the map. The K-Pop is the standout burger and the Seaweed Crack Tenders are an absolute winner. The smacked cucumber is lovely, all the dips are on point. Their Suffolk-bred chicken is top quality and it’s Halal. You’re paying £20-£25 and you’re coming out well fed. The guys behind it, Carl and David, are top boys.”More Info
“The Keralan fried chicken from chef Will Bowlby has to be on the list. The first time I tried it I was with friends in Soho and I rang Will, and asked if we could pop down to check it out. It was incredible. It’s that traditional Deep South style fried chicken but with added Indian spices. Mayonnaise infused with curry oil, turmeric and black mustard seeds, deep fried curry leaves, mooli. Is it a fried chicken spot, no, it’s an Indian restaurant - but the fried chicken is on levels BELIEVE.”More Info
“This place is not known only for its fried chicken but I’m giving a shout out to Bao down in Borough Market. Me and some friends went there after watching the football. Taiwanese food, Asian food is one of my favourites. It’s full of spice, full of flavour. Bao is 100% on their game and their fried chicken is next level. It’s sitting in-between two pillows of aerated bao bun with this spicy mayonnaise, hot sauce, kimchi, coriander and the chicken was so juicy and nice. You can get a plate of chicken there as well. The restaurant is like an old-school restaurant you find in Chinatown in New York. It has that kind of cafe-style. We had a really good time there. They have another branch in Soho that is top too.”More Info
“I got introduced to this Vietnamese restaurant when I was living up in Stoke Newington. Honestly, it’s like they’re putting MSG in there (I’m sure they’re not) because it is really, really good. The chicken wings with fish sauce caramel and garlic salt are outrageous and they’re an absolute bargain. They’re around six quid. It was my go-to delivery in lockdown because I was trying to eat healthy and I was always getting a pho - but as a little treat I’d get these wings. I rate them really, really highly.”More Info
“After starting out small, fast forward a few years and they’ve got them all over London. They tea brine their chicken, then use buttermilk and a double coating of flour. The crack and crunch of the coating you get on their chicken is up there. There’s a reason they’re doing so well. Their menu is ever changing but go for The Cluck Bun.”More Info
“I first went down to their spot on Peckham Levels when I was living in Peckham. It used to be a multi-story carpark. The council took it over as a hub to support the local community and give people with different skills or interests the tools to learn and make a success of themselves. They have a lot of workshops and classes going on, but on one level they’ve got a few takeaway joints. I saw it, my eyes lit up and I was not disappointed. They’ve got this naughty burger - it’s brown butter garlic mayonnaise, Parmesan, pickles, lettuce. They’ve got a few across London now. If I’m walking down the street and I see the sign, I go no further - I head straight to OSF. In Brixton there’s a little counter you can just sit at, in 10 or 20 minutes I’ve got my chicken fix and off I go.”More Info
“Hear me out. McDonald’s Chicken nuggets were my Friday treat after school so they have to be in the mix. We’d go to the drive-through and I’d get my six chicken nuggets, and a whippy ice cream. I still devour these nuggets on the regular - with the curry sauce. Sometimes I take it home and put together two slices of bread, six nuggets, bacon, tomato and lettuce, I call it a McCBLT, you heard that here first.”More Info