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Korean Chicken Sandwich at Wishbone, Brixton

24 Jun

LOCATION: Wishbone, Unit 12 Market Row, Brixton Market, London SW9 8BR [map]

PRICE: £7

BREAD: White  sub roll/baguette type thing – I’ll get to that.

FILLING: Chicken thigh nuggets, crushed peanuts, pickled daikon, fermented chilli mayo, shredded Chinese cabbage, spring onions.

PROS: I hurried to Wishbone in desperate circumstances. I was frenzied. Panicked. This sandwich was a special you see, to be plucked from the menu but two days later. As it turns out I wasn’t  the only one to *SPOILER ALERT* like it, and so they’re keeping it on for the foreseeable. YES Brixton! People power!

So what’s all the fuss aboot? Aye? Well, those nuggets  inside are made from thigh meat, which we all know is the way to go when choosing bits of chicken what will be eaten into the face. If you’re not eating a bit that was once sporting bone then it had damn well better be roasted, with crispy skin and a blob of aioli on the side. I’ll take a potato salad with salsa verde too while you’re at it and also some young broad beans; lightly cooked, podded and dressed with a spiky vinaigrette and nuggets of bacon. Ta.

So yes, nuggets. Nuggets nuggets nuggets nuggets. The Wishbone nuggs were succulent and greaseless. Spot on. To be honest though, one would hope Wishbone would have the whole frying of chicken bit down by now, what with being a er, fried chicken shop and everything. The fermented chilli mayo is an appropriately Korean flavoured lube, which is actually surprisingly subtle. Don’t be put off by the word ‘fermented’. Personally I’m drawn to foods that have been shoved in a pot, sealed and left to their own devices for an extended period of time but I can empathise as to why the idea might strike fear into the hearts of nervy eaters. Chinese cabbage, if you’re not familiar, is kind of like iceberg but without the water…no, that’s unfair…it’s like regular cabbage but without the sulphurous twang. An excellent sandwich ingredient (see katsu sando). There are dinky batons of pickled daikon, there are delicate papery rings of spring onion, the crunch of scrunched peanuts. It’s a balanced sandwich and it shows restraint; knowing when to stop is the clincher.

I bet that bread recipe is a well kept secret, too. Wowzers. I dunno who is making it but it’s a goddamn revelation, like a very light baguette, with much of the inside crumb removed to make way for more filling and a sort of polenta-esque sprinkle on top which reminds me of that grainy stuff you get on a Maccy D’s sausage and egg Mcmuff. DON’T PRETEND YOU DON’T KNOW.

CONS: My name is Helen and I am a spring onion addict. I can make sandwiches with big ol wedges of spring onion inside and munch them down happily. I often find myself  dunking whole ones in salad cream by the sad yellow light of the fridge. More spring onion in everything, please? YES INCLUDING TRIFLE.*

SCORE: 9/10

They lose half a point for not having thought of this sandwich sooner and half for the fact I’d like more heat, although I guess that’s why there’s hot sauce on the table.

 *not including trifle.

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich at Spit & Roast, King’s X

16 Oct

LOCATION: Spit & Roast at Kerb, King’s Boulevard, King’s X (vendors change daily; your best bet at the moment is to check Twitter for details) [map].

PRICE: £5

BREAD: Floury white bap.

FILLING: Buttermilk fried chicken, apple coleslaw and Korean chilli sauce.

PROS: The chicken had been marinated in buttermilk which we all know by now is the ONLY way to prep fried chicken. The meat is obviously good quality, full of flavour, generously proportioned and mega succulent from the buttermilk treatment. The coating is really well spiced too; a touch of the colonel about it but like he’s levelled up one in the sophistication stakes. Apple slaw is fresh, not claggy, and it compliments the fried chicken nicely, if hardly breaking the mould. Korean chilli sauce has a good flavour, mainly of gojuchang (Korean chilli paste); it’s mild and sweet yet distinctive, having as it does a touch of the funk about it.

CONS: There is one major sin when it comes to fried chicken and that is an under-crisped coating. It’s such a shame to undermine the work that has gone into the spicing by retrieving that bird from the fryer too soon. It’s difficult to get fried chicken right, I know that, but still..them’s the facts. Also, the coleslaw, advertised as apple, did not appear to have any apple in it; at least I couldn’t taste it and I wanted to. I was promised it after all. More citrus is also needed to give the fat in the chicken skin what for. The Korean sauce could use more heat; no-one can blame them for erring on the side of caution when it comes to chilli, but I did find myself returning to get some of the extra hot sauce sensibly provided on the counter.

It’s a sandwich with mega potential; even the floury bun worked and I was sceptical. There’s something about the flour from a bun like that getting EVERYWHERE that annoys me to unreasonable levels. Spit and Roast are clearly on to a good thing but really, just Spit and Roast? Where’s the Fry?

SCORE: 7/10

Tsuru Chicken Katsu Sando, Bankside

11 Jan

LOCATION: Tsuru Bankside  (they also have Bishopsgate and Mansion House branches, see website for locations).

PRICE: £4.05

BREAD: Sliced white, nothing fancy. That’s the point.

FILLING: Breaded, deep-fried chicken thigh with tonkatsu sauce, mayo and shredded cabbage.

PROS: This is deep-fried meat in a sandwich so obviously it’s brilliant. The panko crust makes for a really crunchy coating on the strips of juicy chicken thigh meat (breast is also available but I went for thigh as it has more flavour). The chicken is drizzled with sweet, fruity and mildly spiced tonkatsu sauce, which I’m 98% certain I could drink a bucket of. Crunch comes in the form of shredded cabbage, which has the structural balls to stand up to fried chicken. The slick of mayo takes it beyond the deep-fried city walls and further into the nerve centre of  ‘filthy-good’ and the sliced white is exactly the right choice of bread; perfectly bland and ready to receive.

CONS: My most recent sandwich was a bit short on chicken and I would have liked an extra slick of sauce. Minor grumbles.

SCORE: 8/10