Yes, it’s true: over the years we’ve raved about the odd piece of breast or two. It probably started with Chicken Shop, the game-changing subterranean Highgate Road opening that did rotisserie so damn well: all secret marinades and birds with blissful East Anglian pasts.
But then there was La Patagonia, their flattened meat marinated in whisky, garlic, lemon and rosemary, crispy skin scorched on the parilla.
We also love Reyhana, the Persian place five minutes walk from Kentish Town West Overground, whose skewers are bathed in yoghurt and saffron for 24 hours, as meltingly tender as any you’ll find in the postcode (any postcode!)And so to chicken burgers. So often, so meh. Unlike their beefy equivalent, it’s harder to deliver a killer sandwich, both succulent and powerfully tasty.
Sure it’s a chain, but we rate the Honest chicken burger, who’re definitely not winging it with their free range, butter-soft breast. Worth an occasional roost too is The Other Side, part of Kerb Camden, whose buttermilk-brined boneless thighs are topped with smoked honey and fried.But the new kid on the block that effortlessly soars above the rest? Why, it’s Butchies, the Broadway Market staple that has just opened a handy hatch in Camden Market.
Trips to the Big Apple for husband and wife team Garrett and Emer FitzGerald provided the research for what they term their “ultimate fried chicken sandwich” – and it shows. The best option is the Clancy, topped with crisp smoked streaky bacon, deeply ripe guacamole and smoked chilli mayo: lipsmackingly good.
The chicken is slow-reared (for forty rather than thirty days) and sourced from the highly reputable Fosse Meadows Farm in Leicestershire. They use a special pressure fryer which is why the meat is so tender, and prior to hitting the fat it’s marinated for 24 hours in buttermilk to break down the enzymes. And, as if there’s any doubt, they use thigh-only meat so it’s as succulent as can possibly be. And the soft butter-toasted buns add to the air of indulgence.
The only caveat? The burgers are huge (and not, dare we say, as healthy as we would like them to be). The Clancy is also £9, so we say how about a smaller, more petite version for £5-6 for a lunch option – especially when you’re pairing it with those moreish rosemary fries?
Overall though, clucking brilliant – and a deserved Top 10 inclusion in our best new openings of the year.