Over the years, I have had an on-and-off relationship with fried chicken. One that has been inversely proportional to my on-and-off (but mostly-off) relationship with the treadmill. Growing up, greasy fried chicken was all the rage, and it was only when I ballooned up to the size of a baby whale that I swore I would abstain from it. To this day, that vow still holds for the likes of all the perfect-fried-pigeon vendors, but not so much for the recent wave of refined buttermilk fried chicken that has been gracing the menus of London.
From crispy chicken tenders (i.e Motherclucker), epic chicken thigh burgers (i.e Burger UK), right through to fried chicken benedict brunches (Bake Street), fried chicken has made a rightful return to the forefront of soul food. Unsurprisingly, this resurrection has given rise to many exciting new chicken-based eateries, including Chik’n in Baker Street. With a menu that appeared to have taken on a substantial Korean influence, it didn’t take long for Chik’n to grab our undivided attention.
To begin, we ordered a portion of Chik’n’s limited edition Szechuan wings. Big, juicy, and gloriously sticky, each wing was nothing short of a joy to eat, thanks entirely to the combination of subtle sweetness, mellow heat, and sharp, yet light acidity. Steak however, thought that the Szechuan coating could have done with more of a spicy kick. (Though she showed no appreciation when I kicked her shin under the table to make up for it).
Szechuan Wings (£8) *Recommended*
Next, we dug into our K-fries – a simple batch of fries doused with hot sauce, sour cream, and kimchi. As expected, the combination of soft potato, smooth cream, and spicy, acidic kimchi was nothing short of a winner.
K-Fries (£8) *Recommended*
For the main show, I opted for what appeared to be a mainstay version of the former limited edition “Gangnam-style” burger. Having not expected this burger to still be around on the menu, my excitement grew for the combination of crispy chicken fillet with a Korean glaze, American cheese, sriracha mayo, and kimchi. Sadly however, this excitement was short-lived. The chicken fillet – though reasonably tender, lacked a substantial amount of flavour or seasoning, and the Korean glaze – though subtly sweet, was ultimately, rather one-dimensional, and failed to add anything substantial to the burger as a whole.
Steak meanwhile, had ordered a “Straight Up” chicken burger, composed of nothing more than a chicken fillet with a buttermilk and herb mayo, pickles, and lettuce. Whilst longtime readers will attest to the fact that we adore simplicity, this simple burger was, in our opinion, a little too simplistic for its own good. Much like the fillet in the Gangnam burger, the fillet here lacked a substantial kick in flavour, and the buttermilk and herb mayo wasn’t really any more exciting than what you would find at any run-of-the-mill fast-food vendor.
Value For Money: 3.5/5
Across the menu, burgers cost between £6-£9, wings and tenders cost between £3-15, and sides cost around £4. Our own meal amounted to just under £30 for two, which was overall, more than reasonable for the volume of food that we ordered. On the whole, Chik’n is an inexpensive eatery, but given that the burgers themselves don’t seem to be particularly exciting, it is worth asking whether there are more worthy food ventures elsewhere.
For the most part, Chik’n is a self-service eatery, but it’s worth mentioning that the staff members at the till were both friendly and helpful.
Decor / Ambience: 3.5/5
As far as interior design is concerned, Chik’n certainly rules the roost, with a rustic-chique decor composed of warm wood and industrial lighting. The restaurant can be found a short hop away from Baker Street station, and public transport is certainly advised.
Though our meal at Chik’n started off well, it’s fair to say that it ended up taking a bit of a nosedive. Whilst we greatly enjoyed the wings and the fries, the headline acts of the menu – the burgers, fell woefully short of our expectations. Conceptually, Chik’n has everything it needs to be a successful chicken-based eatery, but without a little more excitement, thrill, and refinement in the execution of their burgers, they simply will not be able to steal away London’s chicken-loving affections from their more-established rivals.
Halal status: All the chicken is sourced from a halal supplier. Alcohol is served on the premises.
Address: 134 Baker Street, Marylebone, London W1U 6SH
Telephone: 020 7935 6648